WORKS: Symphony in C (No.1); Symphony in B flat; Symphony in D
PERFORMER: London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9234 DDD
Clementi symphonies appear to be undergoing something of a revival – on CD at least. ASV issued a three-disc set by Francesco D’Avalos and the Philharmonia last December, and an earlier set by the same orchestra conducted by Claudio Scimone was reissued by Erato a few months ago. Bamert’s disc couples the first of Clementi’s four major symphonies, known as No. 1, with two attractive but far less individual symphonies from much earlier in the composer’s career. He also chooses the earlier reconstruction of the C major – substantial parts of the first and last movements of which were lost – made by Alfredo Casella in preference to the more recent version by Pietro Spada used in both Philharmonia recordings.
The performances by the London Mozart Players are very professional but come nowhere near the joyous spirit of rediscovery that D’Avalos and the Philharmonia communicate, and the more reverberant Chandos recording obscures some of the detail of Clementirich scoring. ASV, more usefully, couples the Symphony No. 1 with the Symphony No. 3 on a single full-price disc, and this is the one to go for, although the Erato set, offering all four main symphonies on two mid-price CDs, is a recommendable mid-price choice. David Michaels