Hoffmann: Symphony, Overtures Witt Sinfonia in A

Sinfonia in A Kölner Akademie, Michael Alexander Willens
61:39
cpo 777 208-2

Sandwiched between two lively symphonies, each equally deserving of a place in the repertoire of most orchestras looking to explore the music of Beethoven’s contemporaries, are the overtures to Hoffmann’s Undine and Aurora, considered by many as the first Romantic operas in German. In the case of the latter, Willens and his ever impressive band opt to resolve the final cadence that originally led into the work’s opening chorus into one of the marches from its closing pages. (On my equipment, that caused an extra track to appear, so the Witt was tracks 8-11). I was more often reminded of Haydn than Beethoven, but I imagine that is what one would expect; all credit to cpo and the Kölner Akademie for continuing to present us with “new” music that can only help to broaden our understanding of those composers in whose shadows the likes of Hoffmann and Witt have laboured for too long, and – in the case of this recording for one – provide an easy evening’s entertainment.

Brian Clark