LEBRECHT LISTENS | Blended Outcomes For Beethoven’s Contemporaries Ries & Clement In Two New Releases

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Image from the cover of Franz Clement: Solo Violin Works with Haoli Lin (Courtesy of Naxos Records)
Vienna Seen from the Belvedere Palace (1759/60) by Bernardo Bellotto; Picture from the quilt of Franz Clement: Solo Violin Works with Haoli Lin (Courtesy of Naxos Information)

Ferdinand Ries: Symphonies Nos. 1&2 (Ondine)
Franz Clement: Solo Violin Works (Naxos)


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Ries and Clement have been the musicians closest to Beethoven. Ries, who knew Beethoven from Bonn, acted as his secretary earlier than transferring to London the place he was energetic within the Philharmonic Society that commissioned Beethoven’s ninth symphony.

Clement, for whom Beethoven composed his violin concerto, was displaced as concertmaster for the premiere of the ninth symphony. Though neither man achieved posterity, it’s fascinating to see how a lot of Beethoven rubbed off into their works.

In Ries’s case, an terrible lot. The opening motion of his first symphony performs round with a theme from the violin concerto, whereas the second motion steals wantonly from the Eroica, of which Ries was the copyist. Ries’s thefts, although shameless, are by no means lower than proficient.

His second symphony, composed in London in 1813, imitates Haydn, whom the English adored. However midway into the second minute, Ries is again ransacking the Eroica with each arms like a child let free in a candy store. The Tapiola Sinfonietta, conductor Janne Nisonen, play with vim, vigour and a fleeting smile.

Clement’s caprices and variations sound fairly effortful within the arms of Haoli Lin, who first got here to consideration as a China Nationwide Violin Competitors winner. His are largely first recordings, which relieves us of any want to match. The music is dutiful, uninteresting and disappointing. Clement had a celebration trick of enjoying the violin upside-down: that may have helped. Beethoven dismissed one in every of his units as ‘poor stuff… monotonous.’ I did, nonetheless, take pleasure in Clementi’s variations on a march from an opera by Salieri with an unmentionable racial title.

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