Music and Vision homepage


Sustaining Power

A Czech composer of yesteryear, considered by BASIL RAMSEY

CD Review
Download realplayer G2
To listen to the aural illustrations in this review, you may need to download RealNetworks' realplayer G2.

Antonin Rejcha Wind Quintets. Copyright (c) 1999 Studio Matous Antonin Rejcha, a Czech composer looking back to the Classical period and groping towards Romanticism, could have blown his chances of a small niche in musical history. Certainly his gifts were only a touch above average, but what he did creatively was mostly noteworthy, and the wind quintets selected on this CD from a total of 24 are scored with amazing delicacy and panache. These performances are proof enough, and the excellent players of the Prague Wind Quintet relish the abundant opportunity of giving 'lift' to phrases which respond like balloons in the air.

Musically Rejcha gives continuous delight to the ear. Listen to this theme for variation (click for example) - nothing unpredictable yet deliciously ripe for what's to come. Bach in B minor and Mozart in G minor have always suggested to me the heightened expressive power of certain minor keys for certain composers. Rejcha is not in that league, but his E minor Quintet here is arguably of finer quality than the two in major keys. The technique does not falter whatever the key, neither the astute ear for colour within the ensemble. Rejcha studied with Haydn for six years, and there lies the distinct possibility that more than just craft rubbed off.

How often in 18th century music we hear a group of notes and wonder how a composer can sustain interest for 4 minutes or so. Those who did are known to us all as masters. The others are known - or not known - depending on the sustaining power of their craft. This from Rejcha is typical of a figure which feeds his imagination (click for example) or (click for example). He's a composer with facility for good invention which tends to balance out the slips from creative grace every so often (click for example).

Copyright © Basil Ramsey, August 18th 1999


Antonin Rejcha WIND QUINTETS

Prague Wind Quintet

MK 0006-2131           DDD            60'08

Copyright © 1999 Studio Matous

Recording Director Lukas Matousek
Recording Engineer Vaclav Roubal



 << Music & Vision homepage              More CD reviews >>