Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stamitz, Mannheim Master

The classical period (1730-1820) is a perennial favourite with the crowds, but almost exclusively due to the two grandmasters Mozart and Haydn - Beethoven and Schubert are better remembered for their later romantic works. Other composers like Gluck, Weber and Hummel get airplay, but there are also countless masters from this period whose neglect in public performances is shameful. Perhaps none more than Carl Stamitz (1745-1801), German composer from Czech ancestry, and prominent representative of the second generation of the so-called Mannheim School. I especially like his three cello concertos - also because Mozart never ventured into this type, and because the two known Haydn ones are inferior to Stamitz in my opinion. This Naxos CD, which I have in my own collection, brings these three wonderful works together in excellent performances, with conductor Christian Benda on cello and the Prague Chamber Orchestra. A real bargain.