The Periodical Overtures in 8 Parts

This is an exciting long term publishing project in conjunction with the musicologist Dr Alyson McLamore and the publishing house Musikproduktion Höflich. Join us on this journey of rediscovery of music from the London scene during the Rage for Music in the second half of the 18th century.

The Periodical Overtures in 8 Parts is a remarkable series of sixty-one orchestral symphoniespublished in London by Robert Bremner between 1763 and 1783. In essence, it was a symphony-of-the-month publication over this twenty-year period, capturing the musical tastes of London during the era’s Rage for Music. Bremner was inspired to undertake the series after witnessing the success on the continent of similar French periodical prints. In England, however, Bremner’s series went unrivalled for a decade, and no other later British publisher came close to matching his success with this periodical format.

From the start, Bremner promised to issue works that had never been printed in Britain and that were composed by “the most celebrated Authors.” He honoured both of those commitments, and by 1783, the Periodical Overtures represented some twenty-eight well-regarded composers from across Europe. To accommodate smaller orchestras, the symphonies were usually limited to eight parts, representing first and second violins, viola, bass, a pair of oboes, and a pair of horns, although a few additional instruments began appearing in various issues as British ensembles grew more ambitious.

Bremner also catered to a generally conservative British taste by adding figured bass if it were not already present and sometimes reducing the number of movements to three. The works were widely performed, appearing in the records of concert organizations in England, Scotland, and even in the American colonies. Late in the century, several of the most popular issues were arranged for keyboard, reflecting not only the increasing number of pianos in private homes, but also the Periodical Overtures’ staying power.

The objective of these Periodical Overtures Editions in the Repertoire Explorer Series published by Musikproduktion Höflich is to make this unique collection of orchestral works easily accessible and affordable. The Periodical Overtures Editions enrich the repertoire available to chamber orchestras, professional and amateur alike, providing them with valuable historical and musical insights as well as much delightful music-making, a great deal of which is unknown to contemporary audiences and performers.

Scores and parts are available from Musikproduktion Höflich. Audio renditions of each overture are available on this page as they are published.

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number IV: Anton Fils (Filtz)

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number III: Johann Stamitz

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number II: Francesco Ricci

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number I: Johann Christian Bach

Coming soon…..

May 2024

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number V: Pietro Maria Crispi

June 2024

The Periodical Overture in 8 Parts – Number VI: Johann Stamitz

July 2024

We look forward to your feedback on this project. Please let us know your thoughts by adding your comments below: