The present work, the Sinfonia 'Il Combattimento delle passioni umani' (c. 1771), is less a programmatic symphony than a descriptive one. There is some confusion in the extant sources as to the work's real designation; it is styled variously 'sinfonia', divertimento' and in one instance, 'partita'. Its seven movements depict a variety of human passions, including madness, humility and contentment.While some passions are easier to depict musically than others, Dittersdorf approaches each with characteristic flair and imagination.
This edition is based on a set of manuscript parts now preserved in the Musikarchiv at Stift Kremsmnster (Ser.H Fasc.34 Nr.315). The original wrapper is no longer extant but each of the movements is carefully titled and conforms with the other extant copies.
In the absence of both the autograph score and an authentic set of parts, the edition presents as faithfully as possible the intentions of the composer as transmitted in the Kremsmnster source. The style and notation of articulation and dynamic markings have been standardised throughout, and, where missing, reconstructed from parallel passages. These are indicated by the use of dotted slurs or brackets where appropriate. Like most eighteenth-century sources, the present manuscript is very inconsistent in its notation of appoggiature; these too have been standardised to minimise confusion. Obvious wrong notes have been corrected without comment; editorial emendations with no authority from the source are placed within brackets.