Pleyel: Symphony in C, B154; Symphony in G, B156; Symphony in D minor, B147

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COMPOSERS: Pleyel
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Symphony in C, B154; Symphony in G, B156; Symphony in D minor, B147
PERFORMER: London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9525
Matthias Bamert and the London Mozart Players continue their Contemporaries of Mozart series with this fascinating illustration of Pleyel’s considerable symphonic skill. Pleyel was extremely popular in his lifetime, and these compelling performances make it easy to understand what inspired Mozart to see him as Haydn’s successor.

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Bamert directs the LMP with customary firmness and stylistic assuredness. In the first movement of the C major Symphony, for example, he judges the change of pace from majestic slow introduction to lively Allegro superbly, while his delicate touch in the Adagio illuminates the score’s operatic qualities. Bamert’s handling of the contrast between the minuet’s bold strokes and the trio’s graceful flute solo is likewise impeccable and the sparkling finale fizzes with excitement. Bamert and his orchestra are just as effective in capturing the rustic flavour of the G major Symphony’s finale with its distinctive suggestion of Lilliburlero.

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Finally, these musicians savour the dramatic exploitation of major and minor in Pleyel’s D minor Symphony, with vivid instrumental clarity enhancing the music’s natural vitality. Concerto-style brilliance in the last movement provides a thrilling conclusion. Nicholas Rast