Ries: Septet & Octet / Linos Ensemble

Release Date: 7/19/2005
Label: CPO
Catalog Number: 999937-2
Composer: Ferdinand Ries
Orchestra/Ensemble: Linos Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1

Physical Format:

Low Stock
Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is just the sort of music that the CPO label specializes in: well-wrought works by a worthy yet relatively obscure composer. Neither piece on this disc is a lost masterpiece (as more than a few CPO discoveries are), but both are ingratiating--worth hearing, but not likely to appear on anyone's required listening list.

Ferdinand Ries was a 14-years-younger contemporary of Beethoven, who was one of his piano teachers and also mentored him. The disc's liner notes quote an 1813 review that found Ries' ideas not very original but praised his skills and the beauty of his music. (Beethoven himself put it more succinctly: "He imitates me too much.") The music is beautiful to be sure--I've listened to this program three times and enjoyed it enough that I will occasionally hear it again; but what will bring listeners back is the gorgeous scoring and creative good taste, like a cross between Mozart and Mendelssohn.

The Sextet, a work of four-movement symphonic proportions and structure, is for piano, clarinet, two horns, violin, cello, and double bass. Its rather gentle funeral march second movement is an obvious imitation of Beethoven, but it is followed by a Scherzo that quite charmingly presages Mendelssohn. The Grand Octet of 1826, a more concerto-like work in three movements (employing the same forces as the Sextet, less one horn, but adding a bassoon and a viola) suggests Schubert.

The Linos-Ensemble is joined by pianist Konstanze Eickhorst, who intelligently chooses a balance that favors the piano as more than just "first among equals", but that is not as dominant as a concerto solo part. The studio recording (taped in 2002) has a natural intimate hall ambience and is ideally balanced. If you are looking for music that is both different and pleasing, and you don't mind that it does not go very far beyond "pleasing", this disc will serve very well.

--Joseph Stevenson, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
1. Octet in F minor, Op. 128 by Ferdinand Ries
Orchestra/Ensemble: Linos Ensemble
Period: Romantic
Written: 1830s ; Germany
2. Septet, Op. 25 by Ferdinand Ries
Orchestra/Ensemble: Linos Ensemble
Period: Romantic
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