Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard

Our critics unearth 12 symphonic masterworks overlooked by history.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 »single page

Johann Baptist Vanhal

Symphony in G minor (1771)

Johann Baptist Vanhal (1739-1813) lived in Vienna at the same time as Mozart and had a similarly varied career, composing for thechurch, court and the stage. Andlike most composers of the period, he wrote many symphonies, but this one in G minor stands out.

It reminds me of the dark side of Haydn’s character which we hear in his Symphony No 39,  also in G minor, and only written a few years before. Vanhal’s symphony (known as g2 in the Bryan catalogue) has twitchy and energetic first and last movements, a serious-sounding minuet, and a delicious slow movement featuring oboe and pizzicato strings. GA

Essential recording

London Mozart Players/
Matthias Bamert
Chandos CHAN9607

This recording comes from the London Mozart Players’ marvellous Contemporaries of Mozart series on Chandos. Over some 23 CDs, Matthias Bamert brings to these neglected works his usual polish and care. 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 »single page

Copyright © Limelight Magazine. All rights reserved

What are your thoughts on this article? Have your say and leave your comments below.
NOTE: You must be a registered member of Limelight to post a comment.
Click here to login | Click here to register
Please read our guidelines on commenting. Offending posts will be removed and your access may be suspended. Abusive or obscene language will not be tolerated. The comments below do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Limelight or its employees.
Top 12 great symphonies you probably haven't heard
Current Issue
May 2014 issue on sale now!
What's On
Close Get the May 2014 issue of Limelight mailed to you for $8.50, including postage.

Buy now
Digital Version