Franz Vinzenz Krommer was born in Kamenice in 1759, the son of an inn-keeper and later mayor of the town. His uncle, Anton Matthias Krommer, was a musician and worked from 1766 until his death in 1804 as teacher and choirmaster at Turǎn, where he instructed, among others, his own ten children and taught his nephew violin and organ, leaving him to acquire on his own a knowledge of theory. In 1785 Franz Krommer went to Vienna, finding employment from there in the musical establishment of the Count of Styrum in Simontumya as a violinist, becoming, two years later, Kapellmeister. Late in 1790 he was appointed master of choristers at Pécs Cathedral. From 1793 he served as Kapellmeister to a certain Count Karolyi and from some point as Kapellmeisterto Prince Anton Grassalkovich de Gyarak, until the latter's death in 1795. From then onwards, returning to Vienna, he found increased favour among patrons, becoming Kapellmeister in about 1798 to Count Ignaz Fuchs. His application to join the Vienna Hofkapelle as a violinist was rejected but in 1810 he was appointed Music Director of the Ballet at the Court Theatre. In June 1815 he was appointed Kammertürhüter to the Emperor, accompanying the Franz Ion visits to Padua and to Paris. Three years later he followed Kozeluch as Imperial Chamber Kapellmeister and Court Composer, holding this position until his death in 1831.
Franz Krommer was a prolific and highly respected composer, with a significant, popular and substantial addition to the string quartet repertoire. His concertos include a number of works for his own instrument, the violin, and, now of greater interest, for wind instruments. These last include two concertos for two clarinets. The first, the Concertante in E flat major, Opus 35, was published in 1802, and the second, the Concerto in E flat major, Opus 91, it is thought, in 1815. The Concerto in E flat major, Opus 36, for solo clarinet was published in 1803. The two earlier works, Opus 35 and Opus 36 are classical in form and texture, coming, as they do, a mere ten years or so after Mozart's first novel exploration of the possibilities of the clarinet concerto for his friend Anton Stadler, although now there are suggestions of what younger contemporaries Spohr and Webermight make of it. This is particularly evident in the solo writing of the latest of the three concertos, with its connotations of contemporary operatic practice and weightier scoring. There is no doubt that the three concertos still form a particularly delightful addition to the repertoire of the clarinet and of the late classical concerto.
ReviewsThe performances are fresh and appealing, as is the recording. Well worth a try for those who enjoy the music of this period. - Gramophone