ALBUM TITLE: Richter
WORKS: Symphonies Nos 29, 43, 52, 53 (Trumpet) & 56
PERFORMER: London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10386
Mannheim’s court orchestra and its associated composers were the envy of musical Europe in the mid-18th century. ‘An army of generals’, thundered historian Charles Burney, and even Mozart was impressed. An important source of musicians for Mannheim were the Czech lands which provided a number of key figures including Johann and Karl Stamitz, and, represented here, Franz Xaver Richter. His interest in minor key works was exceptional in Mannheim and his concentration on counterpoint, clearest in the F minor Symphony, looks forward to the strengthening of symphonic fibre in Haydn’s so-called Sturm und Drang (‘Storm and stress’) symphonies.
While usually ear-catching, notably in the Trumpet Symphony, Richter’s muse has a tendency to get locked into repetitive sequences which can pall. Bamert and his players address this repertoire with enthusiasm. Occasionally they become a little fixated with Richter’s mechanical processes, leading to blank passage work; bass lines could have been more carefully shaded and some of the tempos in faster movements more relaxed. But in sound and delivery these are vivid performances. Jan Smaczny