Symphony in C, op 17 & Symphony in Bb, op 18

Two Symphonies op 17 and op 18

Title page of Wranitzky's Op.17 Symphony
Title page of Wranitzky's Symphony op 17
Though not released together, the two symphonies published by Bossler as Op. 17 and Op. 18 serve as good examples of works from an important point in Wranitzky's career. Dating from about 1791 and 1792, respectively, they emerge as products of his early days as director and lead violinist of the Vienna Hoftheater orchestra. The two symphonies show the promising career of a young composer and highlight the fact that he knew the strengths of his musicians and the tastes of his public.

The "Grande Simphonie a Plusieurs Instruments", Op. 17 in C major is indeed a work in large proportions. The instrumental forces involve a full string section, with separate parts for cello and double bass, as well as paired oboes, horns, trumpets and timpani. A regal, slow introduction with flourishes and dotted rhythms prepares the expansive Presto assai first movement. Strong unison passages and triadic themes are coupled with abrupt, dramatic shifts to distant tonal centers. The Adagio that follows foils the stability of the triple meter of the previous movement (and minuet that follows) by blurring a sense of predictable meter. Following the minuet and trio is an impressive sonata-form finale. The brisk tempo, unison passages and exploration of distant harmonic areas recall the feel of the first movement and unify the symphony as a whole. A false ending and restatement of the closing theme creates a coda section that couples with the symphony's slow introduction and provides structural balance and a graceful bookend effect.

The B-flat symphony, Op. 18, is another grand symphony for large orchestra published by Bossler. Compared with its predecessor its character is lighter, more buoyant and at times even humorous. Occasional unexpected weak-beat forzandi and spirited conversation between the violins and solo oboe liven up the rigidity of the clear-cut sonata form. A graceful violin-led Romanza movement follows, with its tuneful lyricism contrasted by a darker, more turbulent middle section. The dance movement conveys a slightly Gaelic character with the Scottish snap figuring into the Minuet section. The rustic feel culminates in the lilting fourth movement. In this rousing rondo finale we find Wranitzky at his compositional best: using familiar and folk-like material in an exciting and dramatic way.

by James Ackerman

Symphony in C, op 17

incipit
I. Adagio - Presto assai Listen to midi file of Movement
391 bars
II. Adagio Listen to midi file of Movement
96 bars
III. Menuetto: Allegretto & Trio Listen to midi file of Movement
52+32 bars
IV. Finale: Presto Listen to midi file of Movement
338 bars

Scoring: 2 Vln, Vla, Vcl, B, 2 Ob, 2 Hn, 2 Clno, Timp
- Score and parts available upon request -

Symphony in Bb, op 18

incipit
I. Allegro vivace Listen to midi file of Movement
228 bars
II. Romance: Andante mobile Listen to midi file of Movement
154 bars
III. Menuetto: Allegretto & Trio Listen to midi file of Movement
34+24 bars
IV. Finale: Rondo Listen to midi file of Movement
271 bars

Scoring: 2 Vln, Vla, Vcl, B, Fl, 2 Ob, Bn, 2 Hn
- Score and parts available upon request -


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