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About this Piece

In the years of Haydn’s greatest fame, composers flocked to Vienna (as both Mozart and Beethoven did) from all regions of the Habsburg empire to join the ranks of musicians feeding off the cultural wealth of the capital. Krommer came from the province of Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic), and after positions in provincial service he set up permanently in Vienna, eventually becoming court composer. He seems to have had little or no contact with Beethoven and Schubert, perhaps because he was older than both of them, tirelessly busy composing over 70 string quartets, chamber music for every possible group, symphonies and concertos, and 13 partitas for a wind group consisting of two oboes, two clarinets, two horns and two bassoons, with an optional part for contrabassoon. All this music was published and widely popular, and he was often compared, not unfavorably, to Beethoven.

Krommer was a violinist, but he had a special sympathy for wind groups, both woodwinds and brass, and his fluency in the forms and styles of the period was the secret of his success. It is thought that the wind partitas belong to the 1790s. Like string quartets of the day, the Op. 79 Partita is in four movements, the first and last being substantial movements in sonata form. The music is both festive and lyrical, with strong solos for individual players. The second movement is a Minuet, with an attractive Trio section, and the third movement has a gentle lilt, providing a certain repose before the exuberant energy of the finale.