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Ferdinand Ries: Complete Flute Quartets / Toon Fret, Oxalys


Release Date: 03/08/2011 
Label:  Fuga Libera   Catalog #: 576   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Toon Fret
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxalys
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



RIES Complete Flute Quartets Oxalys FUGA LIBERA FUG576 (2 CDs: 127:07)


Ferdinand Ries (1784–1838) was a very prolific composer. His published works with opus numbers reach 186 (and many include more than one work within the opus number); his unpublished works (with WoO numbers) reach 89. At this point, I have come to know many of them, in different genres, as a performer and a listener. What is striking is that so many of them display a high level of excellence in regard to both technical craft and Read more expressive inspiration. As a member of the Beethoven circle in Vienna, Ries absorbed and practiced the style of composition most representative of the term “classical music” that exists to this day, notwithstanding the emergence and popularity of new styles over the two centuries. Yet there is little that is derivative or stale; he finds ways to carry on the compositional traditions of the Classical masters even as he edges toward the more overt expression of the Romantic period.


It is no surprise, then, to find that his six flute quartets (for flute, violin, viola, and cello) are all pieces worthy of attention. As usual, there is a plenitude of lovely and original melodic ideas, so that each movement holds the listener’s interest. In typical classical style, these ideas are skillfully developed, transformed, and recapitulated. The four parts share in the expressive melodies, and the balance of the sound is perfect. It would be easy for the flute to be the dominant voice, but Ries is careful to let each instrument have its say.


The first three of the six quartets date from Ries’s maturity, after he retired from musical life in London and returned to the Rhineland, first to Godesberg, and then Frankfurt. Accurate dating of Ries’s music is often difficult, but the three quartets WoO 35 were all composed between 1826 and 1830. Why they were not published in Ries’s lifetime is a mystery; they are polished, inventive, attractive in their rhythmic sprightliness in the fast movements, and very expressive in the slow movements. The string parts are quite demanding technically, and don’t sound as if they were intended for amateurs.


Although the three quartets of op. 145 were published in the late 1820s, the extant autographs of the first two are dated 1814, and the third 1815. These were years of great productivity for Ries, and the quartets are wonderfully original (listen especially to the finale of op. 145/1, Allegro a l’espagnola , with the cello providing strummed Spanish rhythms in guitar-like fashion, but with a bouncing bow).


Oxalys is a group of musicians formed at the Brussels Conservatory in 1993. Its basic formation consists of a string quintet, flute, clarinet, and harp, with additional instruments added as necessary. The four instrumentalists on this CD—Toon Fret, flute; Shirly Laub, violin; Elisabeth Smalt, viola; and Martijn Vink, cello—are superb musicians; they are technically impeccable, and they merge their sounds and phrasing with keen sensitivity. The recorded sound is well balanced, natural, and vivid. Altogether, a fine achievement, and heartily recommended.


FANFARE: Susan Kagan
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for flute, violin, viola & cello in D minor, WoO 35/1 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Toon Fret (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxalys
Date of Recording: 06/2009/11/2009 
Venue:  Academiezaal - Sint - Truiden, Belgium 
Length: 26 Minutes 55 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for flute, violin, viola & cello in G major, WoO 35/2 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Toon Fret (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxalys
Date of Recording: 06/2009/11/2009 
Venue:  Academiezaal - Sint - Truiden, Belgium 
Length: 18 Minutes 19 Secs. 
3.
Quartet for flute, violin, viola & cello in A minor, WoO 35/3 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Toon Fret (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxalys
Date of Recording: 06/2009/11/2009 
Venue:  Academiezaal - Sint - Truiden, Belgium 
Length: 20 Minutes 32 Secs. 
4.
Quartet for Flute and Strings in C major, Op. 145 no 1 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Toon Fret (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxalys
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 06/2009/11/2009 
Venue:  Academiezaal - Sint - Truiden, Belgium 
Length: 18 Minutes 13 Secs. 
5.
Quartet for Flute and Strings in E minor, Op. 145 no 2 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Toon Fret (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxalys
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 06/2009/11/2009 
Venue:  Academiezaal - Sint - Truiden, Belgium 
Length: 20 Minutes 11 Secs. 
6.
Quartet for Flute and Strings in A major, Op. 145 no 3 by Ferdinand Ries
Performer:  Toon Fret (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oxalys
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 06/2009/11/2009 
Venue:  Academiezaal - Sint - Truiden, Belgium 
Length: 21 Minutes 22 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Flute Quartet in D minor, WoO 35, No. 1: I. Allegro
Flute Quartet in D minor, WoO 35, No. 1: II. Adagio con moto
Flute Quartet in D minor, WoO 35, No. 1: III. Scherzo: Vivace
Flute Quartet in D minor, WoO 35, No. 1: IV. Finale: Allegro molto
Flute Quartet in G major, WoO 35, No. 2: I. Andante - Allegretto
Flute Quartet in G major, WoO 35, No. 2: II. Adagio con moto, cantabile
Flute Quartet in G major, WoO 35, No. 2: III. Allegro vivace
Flute Quartet in A minor, WoO 35, No. 3: I. Allegro non troppo
Flute Quartet in A minor, WoO 35, No. 3: II. Largo
Flute Quartet in A minor, WoO 35, No. 3: III. Menuetto: Moderato
Flute Quartet in A minor, WoO 35, No. 3: IV. Rondo grazioso: Allegretto
Flute Quartet in C major, Op. 145, No. 1: I. Allegro con brio
Flute Quartet in C major, Op. 145, No. 1: II. Larghetto cantabile
Flute Quartet in C major, Op. 145, No. 1: III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Flute Quartet in C major, Op. 145, No. 1: IV. Allegro all' espagnola
Flute Quartet in E minor, Op. 145, No. 2: I. Allegro moderato
Flute Quartet in E minor, Op. 145, No. 2: II. Andante
Flute Quartet in E minor, Op. 145, No. 2: III. Menuetto: Molto moderato
Flute Quartet in E minor, Op. 145, No. 2: IV. Rondo: Allegro moderato
Flute Quartet in A major, Op. 145, No. 3: I. Allegro
Flute Quartet in A major, Op. 145, No. 3: II. Scherzo: Vivace
Flute Quartet in A major, Op. 145, No. 3: III. Adagio
Flute Quartet in A major, Op. 145, No. 3: IV. Allegro

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Gorgeous Music June 14, 2012 By Anthony G. (valley stream, NY) See All My Reviews "Ries does not disappoint here. Each quartet is like its own individual planet. And each musical planet is like its own individual Garden of Eden.A paradise for listeners. These flute quartets should be in every Classical music lover's collection." Report Abuse
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