Beethoven, Berwald: Septets - Wigmore Soloists
Classical - Chamber
For their latest project on BIS, the Wigmore Soloists perform two works with unusual instrumentation: Beethoven’s and Berwald’s septets for violin, viola, cello, double bass, clarinet, bassoon and horn. If the young Beethoven did not aspire to profundity in his own Septet, he nevertheless managed to create a fine balance between light-heartedness and substance. In the tradition of serenade, this work in six movements represents Beethoven at his most warm-hearted and relaxed, yet his compositional craft and subtlety are typically sharp. As the septet achieved such fame during his lifetime, Beethoven eventually became irritated by its popularity, which he said overshadowed more mature works.
Best known for his symphonies, Swedish composer Franz Berwald also composed a septet that is in no way imitative of Beethoven’s. Berwald had his own voice and his own musical expression, and his artful handling of the wind instruments deserves praises. Thanks to its attractive transparency, Berwald’s Septet consistently exudes freshness thanks to its endearing musical humour and ranks as the finest of his chamber compositions.
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