Kollective366: “A Viennese Portrait”
This April, NY-based classical orchestra Kollective366 presents A Viennese Portrait, a program of rarely performed symphonies by lesser known 18th century Viennese composers – Vaňhal, Eberl, and Koželuch. These composers were critical influencers of their time who helped shepherd a new era of composition, each exhibiting their own different flavors of the classical era.
A Viennese Portrait
Vaňhal – Symphony in D minor, Bd1
Eberl – Symphony in C major, W.O.N. 7
Koželuch – Symphony in C major
Bohemian composer Johann Baptist Vaňhal composed his Symphony in D minorin 1767. Famous for his fiery Sturm und Drang style — an Austro-German specialty displaying turmoil and high emotionalism — Vaňhal composed many symphonies in minor keys, even more than Haydn. Praised in popularity during their time, Vaňhal’s symphonies profoundly influenced musical thought in the 1760s and 1770s. If you’re curious to know where Mozart’s famous Symphony in G minor came from, listen to this outraged and violent music. This work is unique in that it features an ensemble of four horns, rarely utilized at the time.
Leopold Koželuch was a Bohemian composer, pianist, and publisher who rose to notable fame in 1780s Vienna. Koželuch composed about thirty symphonies out of a catalogue of roughly 400 works he left behind. His Symphony in C Major is both nostalgic in his use of the baroque concerto grosso like wind solos and prophetic in his foreshadowing of Beethovenian orchestral exuberance. Though he was one of Mozart’s most sworn enemies, Koželuch inherited his position at court as Kammermusikus after Mozart’s death.
Anton Eberl was a gifted pianist who is believed to have been a pupil of Mozart’s. Originally trained as a lawyer, Eberl chose instead to focus on music. He served as kapellmeister in St. Petersburg and, upon returning to Vienna, started a concert series with the support of the city’s predominant musical figure: Antonio Salieri. His compositional style mimicked that of Mozart’s so greatly that his works were commonly published under Mozart’s name. Eberl’s Symphony in C Major was one of these misattributed works and remained as such as late as 1944. This lively and theatrical tribute to his dear mentor is derived from Mozart’s final symphonies with its last movement evoking the opening theme of Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony.