Camerata Berolinensis | Johann Stamitz • Chr. W. Gluck: Sinfonie a tre

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Johann Stamitz • Chr. W. Gluck: Sinfonie a tre

by Camerata Berolinensis

Premiere Recordings of surprising and exciting pre-classical music, performed with excellence and fire on period instruments
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. J. Stamitz: Sinfonia in G minor, Spirituoso
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5:41 album only
2. Andante arioso
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8:04 album only
3. Minuetto
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3:23 album only
4. Presto
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4:22 album only
5. C. W. Gluck: Symphonia in E, Allegro
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4:00 album only
6. Andante
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5:09 album only
7. Allegro
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2:49 album only
8. J. Stamitz: Sinfonia in C minor, Allegro
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4:30 album only
9. Andante
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6:02 album only
10. Menuet
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3:33 album only
11. Prestissimo
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4:01 album only
12. C. W. Gluck: Trio in F, Moderato e espressivo
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7:06 album only
13. Allegro
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5:10 album only


Album Notes
Johann Stamitz:
Trio (Sinfonia) in G minor Op.4 No 5
Trio (Sinfonia) in C minor Op.4 No 3

Christoph Willibald Gluck:
Symphonia in E
Trio in F

(Total Time: 63:59)

Johannes Gebauer, Violin / Director
Fiona Stevens, Violin
Katie Rietman, Cello
Yeo Yat-Soon, Harpsichord

performed on period instruments

"... The violinist and musicologist Johannes Gebauer carries that pioneering and uncompromising spirit, which initiated the first generation of period instrument performers, into the present. There is no obliging to traditional listening habits when his "Camerata Berolinensis" goes about sketching out the sound of the early classical music ..."
"... Provocative and powerful ... "
"... dramaturgically marvelous ..."
"... extreme dynamics ... "
"... sensual intermezzi ..."
(The "Kieler Nachrichten" on 29th October 2002 reviewing the concert "Sinfonie a tre" given by Camerata Berolinensis in Kiel on 27th October)
Excerpts from the booklet text:

... Johann Stamitz's Op. 4 was published one year after his death in Paris. It consists of Six Symphonies [...] Compris deux Trios qui sont faits pour exécuteur à Trois où en plein Orqueste ("Six symphonies ... Including two Trios to be performed by three players or by the whole orchestra"). à Trois seems to also include a harpsichord as a fourth performer, especially since the bass part is unusually densely figured. This genre of Sinfonie a tre was wide-spread; Stamitz himself had already published a volume of six such trios during his lifetime. As the title suggests these works are by no means trio sonatas, but symphonies for a minimum scoring. In this context it is not really relevant whether we are dealing with orchestral or chamber music (in this case they are indeed both), but rather which audience the works were intended for. While baroque trio sonatas were mostly written for the delight of the (amateur) musician or occasionally for a small audience, these small symphonies are "public" works for a large, probably middle-class audience. Even if one assumes that these symphonies were originally written for the Mannheim court, they were made accessible to a wider audience especially at the Concert Spirituels through Stamitz's concert tours and through the works' publication. This larger audience was certainly the real addressee. Only this can explain how a provincial violinist who otherwise shows little interest in opera could receive a role as "Petit Prophète" in the Querelle des Bouffons. In this context the sheer length of the works seems less astonishing.
The two trios in C minor and G minor show an unusually rich harmonic and motivic working for this time, paired with the vivacity typical of Stamitz. They can hardly be called superficial works of the Rococo, rather they hint at the Sturm und Drang of Haydn's middle symphonies: certain aspects of both trios definitely represent the Mannheim symphonic style at its best. On the one hand Stamitz dispenses with too formal a use of Mannheim Manieren. On the other hand the merits of the Mannheim style - extreme contrasts, exciting Crescendo passages and a never ending "drive" - combined with a perfect command of harmonic language are brought together in a formal structure which extends over the whole piece....

... Gluck's work in E major, entitled Symphonia in one manuscript, is another example of a Sinfonia a tre similar to Stamitz's trios and may originally have been the opening symphony of a lost opera. We have no indications as to an exact date of composition, however it seems likely to have been composed around 1750. The rich harmony of the middle movement is especially impressive. This moemvent is framed by two vivid and unconventional outer movements. Nothing reminds one of baroque conventions; other than the instrumentation this Symphonia has little in common with trio sonatas by Handel or Telemann. Instead of continuous polyphony we find harmonic and motivic polarisation and the constant use of contrasting dynamics. The sonata form of the outer movements already has all the characteristics of the later Viennese classical idiom, including the complete recapitulation of both subjects. In this sense Gluck goes one step further than Stamitz, although his developments are less complex. The principle of Durchbrochener Stil ("broken style") of the Viennese classicism is already clearly present: melodies hardly ever appear in one instrument and develop through constant alternation, contrast and combination between the two violins.
The trio in F differs a little from the other works on this CD. On the one hand it is rather closer to the trio sonata (alternation of the leading role in the top parts, continuo-character of the bass part), on the other hand it already points towards the early Viennese classicism - the two movement form, comprising a moderately fast first movement, and a second movement in menuet tempo, is often found in Haydn's early music, of which one is also reminded by the thematic invention and structure of the movements....

(The complete text by Johannes Gebauer in English and German in the CD booklet.)
The Camerata Berolinensis specialises in music frm the late 17th to the 18th century. This does not just mean the use of historical instruments, but the Camerata tries to satisfy the musicological demands of a truly historical performance practice.
"Early Music" should not just be seen as a fashionable marketing idea, instead the study of sources should be taken seriously and allow a true rediscovery of original sound and interpretation. This includes amongst others the performance of for instance Bach's works in small and smallest forces and the uncompromising use of historical instrumental technique.

Johannes Gebauer studied musicology at King's College, Cambrige (UK) and baroque violin with Simon Standage. He was a member of the Academy of Ancient Music and Collegium Musicum 90, before he took up advanced studies at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. There he concentrated on chamber music studies with the cellist Christophe Coin. He has taken masterclasses with Micaela Comberti and Stanley Ritchie.
Johannes Gebauer is a member of the Cappella Coloniensis, the baroque orchestra of the radio broadcaster WDR. He is the director of the ensembles Virtulettanti (Berlin) and Concerto Berlin-Kiel, and concertmaster for Ensemble Continuum (Karlsruhe). He has been playing regularly for the Bach Ensemble New York (director Joshua Rifkin) on their European engagements. He took part in numerous CD- and radio recordings in Germany and abroad. He performs as a concert soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster and director all over Germany. In June 2003 he performed Bach's Partita in D minor for Solo violin in a public radio live broadcast from the musical instruments museum in Berlin.


to write a review

Douglas C Miller MD,PhD

Nice mid-eighteenth century music
This is a nice CD of small sinfonias (by other names) by Johann Stamitz ("founder" of the Mannheim School) and Gluck. The latter is mostly represented in recordings by his operatic music so it is nice to hear some of his instrumental pieces. I have been on a search for Stamitz symphonies, most of which remain unrecorded, so this is a welcome addition to my collection. Well played, well recorded, nice music.

Wade Kotter

Rare but wonderful 18th century chamber music, beautifully played.
This disc is essential listening for anyone interested in 18th century music. Camerata Berolinensis presents four never-before-recorded "sinfonie a tre" by two mid-18th century masters that are true gems. Those not always happy with "period instrument" recordings will find little if anything to complain about. In fact, these performances find a nearly perfect balance between energy and delicacy, style and virtuousity, scholarship and musicianship. The recorded sound is wonderful, with each instrument clearly audible but always in balance. In sum, this disc is highly recommended, and the more people who buy it and recommend it to others, the sooner we will hear more from this wonderful ensemble.