Notes and Editorial Reviews
Once just a name among the galaxy of musical stars assembled at the Dresden court by Augustus the Strong, Johann David Heinichen (1683?1729) has in recent years emerged from near-oblivion to become recognized as one of the ornaments of that court. Thanks in no small measure to the persuasive advocacy of Reinhard Goebel, Heinichen has today taken his place alongside such names as Zelenka (for many years his deputy), and Veracini. Although a substantial body of both vocal and instrumental works by Heinichen remains extant, it seems likely that many more are either lost or remain to be unearthed.
The chamber works on the present disc
would seem to fall into the category of newly found pieces, since they are referred to in the notes as having only recently come to attention as the result of musicological research. That presumably accounts for them not carrying Seibel numbers (the cataloging system used for Heinichen?s works). All are apparently unique sources housed in library collections of oboe sonatas by various composers in Dresden and Darmstadt. Judging from the essay by Karl Böhmer, it would appear that the trio sonatas for oboe and violin (in C Minor, and B
) were originally designated for two oboes, although it is not easy to determine from the documentation the original instrumentation of all the works involved. What is certain is that the final trio sonata on the disc is not ?in B,? as given in the program listing, but B
, as Böhmer correctly states.
Both music and performances are a source of unmitigated joy. There is not a work here that does not testify to Heinichen?s outstanding craftsmanship, inventiveness, and melodic inspiration. Pride of place must go to the four-movement Concerto in D, scored for violin, viola da gamba, cello, and continuo, a small masterpiece that opens with a glorious Andante of such noble breadth, such exquisitely contrived interplay between the beautiful violin part and the gamba?s counter-melody that Handel would have been proud to be its creator. Remarkably, the remaining movements maintain this quality of writing. If nothing else quite attains this elevated level, the equivalent movement of the G-Major Concerto also lodges itself insidiously in the mind by way of the wistfully beguiling dialogue between oboe and bassoon.
This is my first encounter with the euphoniously named Epoca Barocca, but I certainly hope it will not be the last. All six of it members are consummately gifted artists who play with the natural spontaneity of musicians totally secure in their technique, and at ease with each other. Nothing is forced or exaggerated; nothing imposes itself between auditor and music, leaving the listener with the unfailing pleasure of simply relishing Heinichen?s enchanting creations. This is an obligatory acquisition for anyone who loves Baroque chamber music.
FANFARE: Brian Robins
Works on This Recording
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