The Contemporaries Of Mozart - Wesley: Symphonies

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Throughout the history of music, there are fascinating cases of family involvement in composition, the prime examples being the Bach and Strauss dynasties. In England, it was the Wesleys. Samuel was the younger son of hymn-writing Charles. His brother, also named Charles, wrote music, as did his son, Samuel Sebastian. All were highly regarded musicians in their day, and all were firmly rooted in the Methodist Church. Samuel wrote six symphonies, of which five survive. They are modestly scored yet highly inventive works. The earliest is written for a curious group of obbligato instruments: violin, cello, and organ--solo instruments that are used only in the fast outer movements of the three-movement piece. The next three symphonies vacillate between Baroque and Classical period styles. Often, as in the first movement of the A major symphony, we find both styles alternating as if vying for prominence. The last symphony, from 1802, shows the influence of Haydn, no surprise since Wesley undoubtedly had heard Haydn's symphonies performed on that composer's two visits to London.

Wesley's music is not the equal of Mozart or Haydn, but is surely melodious, expertly constructed, and highly enjoyable. The vibrant, perfectly executed, impeccably phrased readings that Matthias Bamert extracts from his London Mozart Players make the best possible case for these works. The recorded sound is robust, complementing the exuberant performances. The bass line is solid, the upper strings sparkle, and there is an ideal balance between warmth and brilliance.
--Rad Bennett,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: CHAN 9823

  • UPC: 095115982327

  • Label: Chandos

  • Composer: Samuel Wesley

  • Conductor: Matthias Bamert

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: London Mozart Players