Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major (Benton 112) [Study Edition]
Year of Publication:
vn va pr; pfte
Piano Reduction: Stapled / Parts: Unbound
B flat major
Ignaz Pleyel (1757-1831) was at one time the most famous composer in the world. The popularity of his music eclipsed that of even his teacher Haydn and publishers vied to bring out his latest works as soon as they were finished. Some 2000 separate prints of Pleyel works had appeared by 1800 and his fame extended to every corner of Europe and as far afield as North America. Pleyels career as a composer spanned less than thirty years with the majority of his works composed in the 1780s. He founded a successful publishing house in Paris in the mid-1790s and later began manufacturing keyboard instruments. With increasing demands on his time from his business concerns Pleyels productivity as a composer dropped sharply and he ceased composing around 1805. The Sinfonia Concertante in B-flat for Violin and Viola was composed by Pleyel in 1791 for the Concerts des Amateurs in Strasbourg with whom he had been associated since his appointment as Franz Xaver Richters assistant at Strasbourg Cathedral in the mid-1780s. Like most of Pleyels major works Benton 112 proved exceptionally popular and was issued by no fewer than five publishers in its original form between 1791 and 1804-5 and it was also published several other versions including an authentic parallel version for viola and pianoforte. With no Viennese models in mind (the symphonie concertante was not cultivated in Vienna) Pleyel looked to Mannheim and Paris for inspiration and Benton 112 is far closer in spirit and technique to the works of Carl Stamitz than to those of his teacher Haydn. It is a genial, relaxed work, rich in melodic invention and light in thematic development. Pleyel writes beautifully for the two solo instruments, distributing thematic material evenly between them, and creating at times a dazzling web of sound.