Johannes Goritzki / Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra

Georg Christoph Wagenseil: Symphonies, Vol. 2

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The name of Georg Christoph Wagenseil is largely absent from many accounts of music history, despite the significant role he played during his lifetime. Although a contemporary of J.S. Bach, many of his compositions were already progressing in the direction of the elder Bach's sons toward the onset of the so-called Classical period, which too many people believe began at the moment of Bach's death. For many years, Wagenseil had the distinction of being the primary voice of Austrian music in Paris, where his music was largely respected. The six symphonies heard on this album (the second volume of its kind produced by CPO) likely began their existence not as stand-alone symphonies, but as a kind of overture for Wagenseil's operas. These shorter compositions were subsequently extended to yield the works we hear today. Performing this set is the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Johannes Goritzki. While each of these symphonies is well-composed, there's little cause for excitement for the average listener. Regrettably, the SCO doesn't really do anything to enhance listeners' level of engagement. Its playing is solid and reliable throughout, but after listening for a while, it easily becomes background music. Sound quality is generally acceptable, although the violins are a bit fuzzy and the rapid passagework in fast sections becomes blurred.

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