Hidden behind Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart are a clutch of composers who really deserve more attention. Most are so obscure and overshadowed by the aforementioned greats, but they really are fine musicians and I want to see if I can improve their profile.
First up is Muzio Clementi (1752-1832). He influenced Beethoven and composed many beautiful pieces, mainly piano sonatas and the amazing Gradus Ad Parnassum.
The Op.50 and Op.40 sets are incredibly underrated sonatas and deserve more attention.
Next was a pupil and friend of Beethoven, Ferdinand Ries. His set of eight symphonies are a testament to finding a voice of his own which was difficult considering the grandness of Beethoven.
Ries also wrote many piano sonatas and piano concertos.
Mehul was a Fench composer that I have only recently discovered and what a gem his music is. The first movement of his first symphony in G minor pushes the limitations of the classical period to its zenith. The coda is particularly impressive.
Hummel is probably one of the better known ‘minor’ composers not to write a symphony. Yet he makes up for this in his two piano concertos (amongst others that are hard to come by). With a little more guile he could have ben on par with Schubert. He also composed nine piano sonatas that are worthy of their place in history especially the No.5 in F Sharp Minor.
The bulk of Czerny’s output was mainly pedagogical, but he also composed several symphonies of which only four seem to have been recorded. My personal favourite in his first in C Minor. Vastly underrated.
In part II I will look at such gems as Dussek, Kozeluch and Kuhlua.