Michael Alexander Willens / Kölner Akademie

Johann Wilhelm Wilms: Sinfonie und Solokonzerte

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Deeply inspired by the works of Mozart and Haydn, particularly in his earlier works, the compositions of Johann Wilhelm Wilms had largely fallen into oblivion. Many of his works remain unpublished even now, and listeners must rely on rare recordings such as this one to get a glimpse at Wilms' extensive output. This Ars Produktion album features two early works: the C major Piano Concerto, Op. 12, and the E flat major Symphony, Op. 14. The influence of Mozart and Haydn with regards to formal handling, melodic development, and motivic treatment can clearly be heard. But Wilms was not without his own intricacies and idiomatic nuances. Listeners will notice Wilms frequently shifting what listeners expect, always keeping them just a bit unsure of where he's going to take the music next. The Flute Concerto, Op. 24, is a slightly more mature work, which, though still showing the influence of Haydn and Mozart, finds Wilms breaking off onto his own even more. The three works are perfomed by the Kölner Akademie under the direction of Michael Alexander Willens. The sound is quite warm and graceful while maintaining a sense of Classical lightness and joviality. Fortepianist Paolo Giacometti and flutist Martin Sandhoff round out the admirable performance with tight, unfettered dialogue with the attentive orchestra.

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