|1. Sym in B flat: Allegro Moderato|
|2. Sym in B flat: Andante Arioso|
|3. Sym in B flat: Minuetto|
|4. Sym in B flat: Allegro|
|5. Sym in d: Allegro Molto|
|6. Sym in d: Cantabile|
|7. Sym in d: Finale - Allegro|
|8. Sym in G: Allegro|
|9. Sym in G: Andante Molto|
|10. Sym in G: Minuetto - Allegretto|
|11. Sym in G: Finale - Allegro Ma Non Troppo|
Jean Baptiste Vanhal (1739-1813) was born in Bohemia, where he received his musical training, but moved to Vienna in his early twenties. He possessed a good business sense, and he was one of the first major composers of the period to pursue his career independently, according to his biographer, Paul Bryan, who has done considerable research dating and cataloguing some of Vanhal's voluminous output. Unfortunately, he composed no symphonies after the early 1880s, as the market was drying up. He then devoted his efforts to church music, with some keyboard and chamber music. He apparently was quite successful and lived very comfortably until his death in 1813.
The first work, a Symphony in B flat Major (Bryan Bb3) is a pleasant early work, neither better or worse than any number of symphonies of the period, a lively entertainment.
The second, a Symphony in D minor (Bryan d2) in three movements is really quite a fine work. The second movement, a Cantabile, is really a slow oboe concerto, though not a terribly difficult one, hauntingly beautiful. This alone would make this CD worthwhile.
Symphony in G major (Bryan G11) is another well-made symphony, well-worth hearing. Vanhal's inventiveness is evident throughout.
The City of London Sinfonia under Andrew Watkinson plays quite well, and I can't really fault them, but it takes some adjustment of the tone controls to appreciate their efforts. This is a pity, since Naxos has many recordings of excellent quality, especially since 1993.
This is a less successful an issue as was Vol. 1 of the Vanhal symphonies under Uwe Grodd. The works there were more interesting, and the sound quality superb. However, this is still worth hearing, especially for those interested in 18th century symphonies.