Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727-1789) - Sinfonia G-Dur (c.1765)
Performers: Neubrandenburger Philarmonie
Further info: Johann Wilhelm Hertel (1727-1789) - Harp Concertos
German violinist, keyboard player and composer, son of Johann Christian Hertel (1697-1754). Destined at first to be a lawyer or theologian, he nevertheless received an early musical education from Bach’s pupil J.H. Heil (1706-64) and by the age of 12 he accompanied his father as harpsichordist on concert tours. In 1742-3 he was a violin pupil of Carl Höckh, the Konzertmeister in Zerbst, and in 1744 he was violinist and harpsichordist at the Strelitz court, where his father was also employed. He had contacts with leading Berlin musicians such as Franz Benda, C.H. and J.G. Graun, and C.P.E. Bach; Franz Benda taught him the violin and C.H. Graun encouraged him to compose. After the Strelitz Hofkapelle was dissolved (1752) he became court composer in Schwerin in 1754, and worked at times as organist and church music director in Stralsund (1759-60). He was Princess Ulrike’s private secretary from 1764 and when the Hofkapelle moved to Ludwigslust in 1767 Duke Friedrich dismissed him from it so that he could remain in Schwerin. From 1770 he was the privy councillor in the service of Princess Ulrike but continued to compose, arrange concerts at the court and give music instruction. In his last years he gave up the violin and devoted himself to keyboard instruments. In his youth Hertel was considered one of the best violinists of Franz Benda’s school; he composed an impressive series of nine violin concertos as well as chamber music and trio sonatas. His 17 keyboard concertos, rich in invention and distinguished by fluent passage-work, are important north German achievements in this genre and rank beside C.P.E. Bach’s and A.C. Kunzen's. His sonatas and other works for keyboard, mostly still typical of harpsichord composition, are markedly inferior to the concertos. His 40 symphonies occupy a major place in his creative output. While his symphonic writing at first adopted the style of the Berlin school of Hasse and Graun, after 1760 it underwent a stylistic change unique in north Germany at the time by absorbing south German influences. Scored mainly for strings, horns, oboes and flutes, his symphonies are notable for their uncomplicated, straightforward technique and an almost aphoristic, rhythmically succinct and brilliant handling of thematic material. He also wrote incidental music for stage works, overtures and other instrumental concertos including ten oboe concertos.