Il Filosofo



Giovanni Antonini


Carl Friedrich Zelter, Meldelssohn’s teacher, writing to Goethe about W.F. Bach on 6 April 1829: “As a composer he had the tic douloureux of being original, of distancing himself from his father and brothers such that he sank into affectation and pettiness…”.  Georg Anton Griesinger, in his Biographische Notizen über Joseph Haydn, published in Leipzig in 1810: “I [Haydn] was isolated from the world; no one in my vicinity could make me lose confidence in myself or bother me, and so I was bound to become original”. F. J. Haydn and W. F. Bach sought to be original for different reasons. As Zelter suggests, a possible yearning for artistic identity far from the paternal shadow on the part of Johann Sebastian Bach’s first son; and a situation of isolation and creative freedom without the constraints of a patron for Haydn. The works included in this recording all embody highly unusual features: for instance, the singular use of B major for the Symphony n. 46, with its unexpected return to the minuet in the finale; the orchestration of n. 22 in which the oboes are replaced by corni inglesi; the obsessive rhythm of the first movement of n. 47 presented in the opening by the wind, which return to the subject in minor mode following the development. Listeners will doubtlessly find other elements of originality, perhaps less evident but equally “unique”, that further contribute to the unusual nature of these symphonies. Likewise the symphony by W. F. Bach is restless in mood, combining traditional traits such as the beginning of the first Vivace, which is typical of the baroque overture, with dramatic, troubled outbursts reminiscent of pre-romanticism, only to conclude with two Minuets that seem to want to restore peace following the
turmoil prevailing in the first three movements, or perhaps in the composer’s own mind.


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