Symphony in D minor, "La Tempesta"

Symphony in D minor, "La Tempesta"

"The Great Mishap" © Linda Bergkvist
Paul Wranitzky composed a significant number of symphonies during the last decade of the 18th century, making him one of the leading symphonists in Vienna, if not Europe. As a result of his respected post as director of the Imperial Court theater orchestras, Wranitzky had one of Europe's finest orchestras at his disposal and, of course, a ready audience. He was also a favored composer of Empress Marie Therese, and wrote many works for the private use of her and her family.

The symphony in D minor, " La Tempesta" , is among the symphonies that were neither published in print, nor widely circulated. The catalogue of the Viennese music copyist Traeg lists a symphony in D minor, which very likely could be this symphony. Incomplete manuscript parts survive in Hamburg and Modena. In Florence, we recently discovered that the incidental music to the play " Die Rache " (1795) contains the three movements of the symphony - but slightly altered, in another order and together with additional music. Readily available symphonic works were often used for the stage, and neither source of the symphony contains any hint to the compositional date. Therefore it is not possible to know which version came first, but it does tell us when the music was composed at the latest.

Quickly noticeable is the large orchestra, which includes split viola parts, two bassoons, timpani and a gran tympano , or large bass drum. This drum is not heard until the final movement, but is undeniably an essential part of Wranitzky's musical depiction of a storm. The composer left detailed instructions for this part, which shows the care that Wranitzky took in managing all aspects of the thunder that fuels this tempest.

Wranitzky's tempest encompasses the entire final movement and takes roughly 10 minutes to perform. A compendium of storm-like gestures, such as rapid scales, tremolos, and diminished chords, these devices are set loosely within the confines of sonata form. Ultimately, the storm subsides, as evidenced in the rejoicing D-major coda section.

by James Ackerman and Daniel Bernhardsson

Symphony in D minor, "La Tempesta"

I. Vivace Listen to midi file of Movement
201 bars
II. Adagio Listen to midi file of Movement
122 bars
III. Finale - La Tempesta: Allegro con fuoco Listen to midi file of Movement
344 bars

Scoring: 2 Vln, 2 Vla, Vcl, B, Fl, 2 Ob, 2 Bn, 2 Hn, 2 Clno, Timp, Gran Tympano

Download: Full Score - Parts available upon request -
Edition by Daniel Bernhardsson


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