Smethergell - Overtures Vol.1: Six Overtures, op.5 | CPO 5555402

Smethergell - Overtures Vol.1: Six Overtures, op.5

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Label: CPO

Cat No: 5555402

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Orchestral

Release Date: 3rd March 2023



Sudwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim


Douglas Bostock


Smethergell, William

Overtures (6), op.5


Sudwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim


Douglas Bostock


Of the composers of the British kingdom who can be described as contemporaries of Joseph Haydn, almost all are largely forgotten today. Yet even before Haydn's arrival in 1790, not only was the study of his music flourishing, but above all, concerts of orchestral music had long been established in a variety of venues. For a long time almost nothing was known about William Smethergell. Baptised in London on 6 January 1751 in the church of St Peter le Poer, he came from a family that was anything but wealthy, as Douglas Bostock suspects, originally of Danish origin. Smethergell spent much of his musical career as an organist, from 1770 at All Hallows Church in Barking-by-the-Tower, and from 1775 at St Mary-at-Hill not half a mile away. When he applied for membership of the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain in 1779, he disclosed that he derived his annual income of about 200 from his two organist positions as well as his activities as a viola player in the Vauxhall Orchestra and from teaching. His Six Overtures in eight parts, op.5, offer a thoroughly remarkable number of idiosyncrasies, though the first Overture in particular seems like a prototype of the genre in its clear three-movement form - with splendid opening movement, lively Siciliano with the dynamic indication sempre p, and a contrasting Rondo. Early on, Smethergell not only treats the winds to a colourful function, but also allows them to stand out as soloists. Enjoy also the other overtures with much charm and subliminal wit.

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