Mysliveček, il divino Boemo (the title seems to have been a fictional exaggeration) was particularly associated with opera. But his instrumental works outnumber the operatic by some margin and some of his best-known works, to us at least, are his concertos. The years of his greatest triumphs were between about 1767 and 1777, a decade that saw foreign successes, meetings with Mozart and considerable operatic esteem. His Six Symphonies of 1772 are indebted to the Italianate three-movement form, which they have absorbed with considerable vivacity, and they show individual touches – modulations, wind solos and the like – that give them an individual stamp.
Of all the great composers, Schubert left by far the largest number of uncompleted works: symphonies, piano and chamber music, songs, choral music and operas. Six of the latter are represented on this disc the early 'Adrast' written around the age of twenty and 'Fierebras' written in 1823, five years before the sudden end of his short life. Schubert made many attempts to achieve success on the Viennese operatic stage but was singularly unlucky in doing so.
In the Baroque and Classical periods, it seems like anyone who was famous in the world of opera did something with the story of Orpheus. Retrospectively, it is sometimes really hard to see why this appealed to so many. To be sure, the symbolism of the power of music, not to mention the tragic story of love lost, won again through hardship and devotion, and finally and irrevocably lost, seems ready-made for opera. Moreover, any composer would love to set the scenes of Orpheus in Hades. But the plot really seems to need something, like a happy ending, extra characters, or lots and lots of dances to pass the time. Georg Philipp Telemann’s excursion into this story certainly has its share of things.
The orchestral suites on this enchanting new disc of Telemann are beautiful works, considered by some as the most difficult pieces Telemann wrote for recorder and oboe. The music fascinates from the first to the last note with its originality and this is due to its Polish inflection. Telemann once wrote "a Polish tune makes the whole world jig."
South African soloist Carin van Heerden is a founding member of the Austrian L'Orfeo Baroque Orchestra and performs with this orchestra regularly. Various CD's with this orchestra have been released on CPO and have brought international acclaim.
Don't expect Telemann's Violin Concertos to match the Viola Concerto in lyric generosity or sheer memorability. He composed at least twenty violin concertos for his own use (he was a noted multi-instrumentalist), the earliest dating from c. 1707-08. They adhere to his usual Franco-Italian models, though are constructed with such cleverness and authority, and technical understanding, that the Corellian, Vivaldian and French elements are, if not absorbed into the bloodstream, at least present without sounding to be pastiche.
The opera Miriways met with enthusiastic responses when it was rediscovered after 284 years in 2012 at the Bruckner Festival in Linz and in the stage production under Michi Gaigg at the Magdeburg Theatre. “The score is a delight, revealing the composer at his most colourfully inventive…The performance pulsates with energy from start to finish…The cast, by and large, is strong…Prince Sophi is a soprano role sung with agility and tonal clarity by Ulrike Hofbauer. She provides a consistently rewarding presence…Miriways is, in a word, entertaining.” (International Record Review)
This is a great set. The main competition to this production comes from Gardiner, with Anthony Rolfe Johnson as Orfeo. His is a superbly attractive voice, and he remains the best Orfeo I've heard. But Victor Torres is excellent too and his performance is very distinctive and rich in character. What's more, he is better recorded, as is the whole of Garrido's interpretation…”