Paul Wranitzky Orchestral Works worth a listen

Sure — Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven were the major figures in 1800s Vienna. But they were the only ones. Vienna was the center of the musical world, and talent came from all over. Like Paul Wranitzky from Moravia.

He and his brother Anton found fame and fortune in Vienna. In the 1790s he conducted both royal theater orchestras. He was a preferred conductor of both Beethoven and Haydn. And he was a pretty good composer, too.

This release is the first volume of Wranitzky’s orchestral music. There will probably be many more. Wranitzky wrote over fifty symphonies plus a goodly number of concertos and overtures. A contemporary critic wrote that Wranitzky’s music was popular “because of his natural melodies and brilliant style… His works held up very well in comparison with those of Haydn.”

The works on this release support that assessment. It includes his “Coronation” symphony, written for the ascension of Franz II in 1792. It’s big, it’s grand — and it’s pretty darned tuneful. It does indeed compare favorably to Haydn’s symphonies of the same year.

His Symphony in B-flat major, Op. 33, No. 1 was written in 1798. It exhibits depth and complexity on par with Haydn’s “London” symphonies. It’s a more serious work than the “Coronation” symphony and rewards careful listening.

Also included are two of Wranitzky’s opera overtures. Here he seems more inspired by Mozart than Haydn.

The Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice conducted by Marek Stilec deliver some fine performances. Wranitzky’s music has an air of elegance and refinement. The orchestra honors that. Their readings have a light, transparent quality to them that still can elicit excitement when needs be.

All of these works receive their world recording premiere with this release. Definitely looking forward to more undiscovered gems with volume 2.

Paul Wranitzky: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice; Marek Stilec, conductor
Naxos 8.574227


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