Notes and Editorial Reviews
Overture in B?. Concertos: in C for Bassoon; in g for Bassoon; in B? for Oboe and Bassoon; in c for Violin; in G for Oboe
Sergio Azzolini (bn); Xenia Löffler (ob); Lenka Torgersen (vn); Vaclav Luks, cond; Collegium 1704 (period instruments)
SUPRAPHON SU 4035-2 (67:06)
Overture in B?. Concertos: in G for Flute; in B? for Oboe; in G for Violin. Sonata in D for 2 Trumpets,
Timpani, Cello, and Strings
Marek Spelina (fl); Luise Haugk (ob); Jana Chytilová (vn); Marek ?tryncl, cond; Musica Florea (period instruments)
SUPRAPHON SU 4056-2 (63:40)
Antonin Reichenauer (ca.1694–1730) is another of those shadowy figures whose name was well respected—and justifiably so—in his time, but in the centuries since his death it has fallen into the darker corners of music history.
Reichenauer was an employee of count Wenzel Morzin, the dedicatee of Vivaldi’s op. 8, which contained
The Four Seasons
. Reichenauer’s position with Morzin is noted in court financial documents, which indicate that Reichenauer received a regular salary as a member of Morzin’s ensemble plus additional remuneration for compositions he prepared.
The lion’s share of Reichenauer’s instrumental music, however, has been preserved in Dresden: There are five scores in the composer’s hand plus additional works dating from the 1720s, which appear to be the handiwork of the Dresden copyists. The question is how did this music get there? There is no documented evidence of a visit to Dresden by Reichenauer, but there are connections between Morzin’s court and Dresden, so one might (or may?) assume that Reichenauer was sent to the city. And what about the music? Was it sent there or was it composed specifically for the Dresden orchestra? If the latter is the case, why didn’t Reichenauer use the more extensive ensemble there in the overtures? It’s possible—and also probable— that they were written by Reichenauer for Morzin’s band, where there were oboe and bassoon virtuosi available. This would also account for the demanding solo parts in the wind concertos. But the real answers to the questions still elude the musicologists and may continue to do so until the end of time.
These two discs are part of Supraphon’s
Music in 18th-Century Prague
series and as such offer us a glimpse of the type and quality of music-making in the Bohemian capital. Like many of his Bohemian contemporaries, Reichenauer is one of the lesser lights of the transitional period between the Baroque and Classical eras, but nonetheless an exceptionally gifted one. His familiarity with the instruments and his ability to craft pleasant and occasionally memorable music is commendable, but I doubt that his works will ever rival those of the Baroque icons, for the spark of genius simply isn’t there. However, what
there is in some cases imaginative and is always well planned, well organized, and well executed.
It’s difficult to imagine any other performances of this music exceeding these in either commitment or quality. Even though the pacing is relaxed and not edge-of-the-seat, there is plenty of energy and momentum, not to mention immaculate ensemble and impeccable intonation. There was a time when there were a precious few bands and soloists who could play this sort of music well, but that time has passed and so has the torch to a younger but still enthusiastic generation of performers like these, whose once-unfamiliar names are fast becoming household words in the early-music community. I recommend this with no reservations.
FANFARE: Michael Carter
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