‘Good notes, sparkling sound, and fine performances all combine to make this a fine release.' American Record Guide
Franz Anton Hoffmeister achieved fame as a publisher of works by Haydn, Mozart, Vanhal, Albrechtsberger and Pleyel as well as himself and others. The publishing business he founded in Leipzig in 1799, called the Bureau de Musique, published many of Beethoven's works, and was the forerunner of C.F. Peters, a firm that still exists. As a composer, he was a well-respected figure in his day, with a large and varied output of music, from keyboard and chamber works to operas, symphonies and concertos - including those rarities, concertos for viola and for double-bass. Shortly after his death, the musical lexicographer Ernst Ludwig Gerber praised Hoffmeister for his ‘industry and versatility' and for ‘the musical pleasure he has given in the most varied genres... [his] enrichment and advancement of instrumental music, especially through the richness of ideas in his large and brilliant symphonies... He earned his well-deserved and widespread reputation through the intrinsic merit of his works, which are not only rich in feeling and expression, but employ the instruments interestingly and appropriately, and are distinguished by their ease of performance... one might often have thought he was himself a virtuoso on the instruments for which he was writing'.
The Symphony in E Major and Symphony in D Major are early works, published in about 1778. They are tuneful and well crafted, with sparkling outer movements, graceful minuets and suitable touches of melancholy in the minor-mode slow movements. One can see why Hoffmeister became so popular with the musical public. The Symphony in G Major is a later and more substantial work. Its title, ‘La festa della Pace 1791', commemorates the signing of a peace treaty with Turkey by Emperor Leopold II on 4 August 1791, after an expensive and inconclusive war in the Balkans. The last movement, called ‘Turchesco', features the same ‘Turkish music' (triangle, cymbals and bass drum) that Haydn was to use a few years later in his ‘Military' Symphony No. 100.The compositional style has matured and Hoffmeister has become quite adventurous harmonically.