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Hummel, Dussek, Onslow: Piano Quintets / Nepomuk Quintet

Release Date: 06/26/2007 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 93203   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Nepomuk HummelJan Ladislav DussekGeorges Onslow
Performer:  Elisabeth SmaltRiko FudukaJan InsingerPieter Smithuijsen,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HUMMEL Piano Quintet in e?, op. 87. DUSSEK Piano Quintet in f, op. 41. ONSLOW Piano Quintet in G, op. 76 Nepomuk Fortepiano Qnt BRILLIANT 93203 (78:43)

Brilliant Classics has become one of today’s most enterprising and profitable labels worldwide. With their unmistakably Dutch nose for Read more merchandising, they’ve so far made life difficult for many smaller labels, if not impossible. Their recipe: quality performances (mostly licensed) in a cheap package and at a low price. Critic’s opinions are divided about this commercial strategy and the potential threat it may impose on the future of recording. Although there certainly are a number of questionable consequences for the market, we can also see a very positive evolution. At this moment, Brilliant Classics has gathered sufficient financial funds to give superb but less recognized ensembles the chance to get more attention.

This disc presents major piano quintets of three central European composers: Hummel, Dussek, and Onslow. Their work is situated in the transition period from the Classical to the early Romantic. All three composers made their way up to the courts of Vienna, Paris, or London, and were very successful at the time.

Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s music is original and joyful, even passionate at times. The first movement is a good example of that—a fresh and original work, full of joy and wit. The Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet consists of four superb string-players who met during their musical work in the Netherlands. Together with pianist Riko Fukuda they formed an ensemble with a beautiful and distinguished sound. Fukuda’s approach is a little lighthearted and ideally suited for this music. The manner in which all five musicians construct musical phrases throughout is quite impressive. And their sound blends superbly. The same thing goes for the idiomatic music of Dussek and the grimmer quintet by George Onslow. The refinement with which these musicians rediscover this relatively unknown music is simply astonishing.

Hyperion has an appealing alternative version of Hummel’s Quintet with the Capricorn Ensemble—in that typical Hyperion sound; it’s still a hard-to-beat version of this work. If you can find it, you should try Dussek’s Quintet on Meridian with pianist Christine Croshaw and friends. To my great sorrow, I don’t own a version of the Onslow quintet, and I haven’t been able to find any either (although it certainly deserves more attention).

The sound of this recording is quite impressive too; the level of detail is amazing, and the spatial depth is compelling. The engineers at Brilliant know their job very well. This is a very valuable release. Presented with an interesting booklet (with pictures), this disc will be very hard to beat if you’re looking for an original performance of some great music.

FANFARE: Bart Verhaeghe
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Works on This Recording

Quintet for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello and Double Bass in E flat major, Op. 87 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  Elisabeth Smalt (Viola), Riko Fuduka (Fortepiano), Jan Insinger (Cello),
Pieter Smithuijsen (Double Bass), Franc Polman (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1802; Vienna, Austria 
Quintet for Piano and Strings in F minor, Op. 41/C 172 by Jan Ladislav Dussek
Performer:  Riko Fuduka (Fortepiano), Franc Polman (Violin), Jan Insinger (Cello),
Pieter Smithuijsen (Double Bass), Elisabeth Smalt (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1799 
Quintet for Piano and Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 76 by Georges Onslow
Performer:  Riko Fuduka (Fortepiano), Franc Polman (Violin), Jan Insinger (Cello),
Pieter Smithuijsen (Double Bass), Elisabeth Smalt (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1848; France 

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