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Bright Performances

Music for strings
by Josef Myslivecek,
reviewed by

Toccata Classics    TOCC 0023

Josef Myslivecek: Music for strings, Volume 1 - Sinfonie Concertante, o sia Quintetti per due Violini, due Viole, e Basso. © 2006 Toccata Classics

Myslivecek was born near Prague in 1737 and thirty years later was already among the leading composers in Italy, having absorbed the operatic styles and fashions of his adopted county successfully. Almost as soon as he arrived in Venice in 1763 he became involved with the singer Lucrezia Aguiari, a voice that amazed Mozart and his father, and won her parts with Gluck and Paisello. Myslivecek's affair with her was the first of many in a life filled with libertine excesses, and many other singers claimed no other contemporary composer in Italy could write so well for the voice.

It is interesting to hear this set of six Sinfonie Concertanti Op 2, each being three movement works, and each exploring for the first time the full potential of the string quintet. Clearly they are imaginative, as the Minuet from the 1st Concerto in B flat [listen -- track 6, 0:00-0:52] and inventive too, as in the lively finale of No 6 in C [listen -- track 12, 0:46-1:04].

He also knew how to maintain some excitement, as in the Presto from the 2nd Concerto in E [listen -- track 9, 0:00-0:59]. Though the performances are bright, the overall sound quality is dry and lacking in a degree of warmth that would have helped them along considerably. New Zealand born Gary Brain produced and directed these recordings in Kazakhstan in the autumn of 2004.

Copyright © 1 March 2008 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


Myslivecek: Music for Strings Volume 1

TOCC 0023 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 68'47" 2006 Toccata Classics

Uralsk Philharmonic Orchestra; Gary Brain, conductor

Josef Myslivecek (1737-1781): VI Sinfonie Concertanti, o sia Quintetti per due Violini, due Viole, e Basso Op 2, F1-6 - No 6 in C (Larghetto - Allegro; Presto); No 1 in B flat (Allegro; Andante; Menuetto); No 2 in E (Allegro; Andante; Presto); No 5 in D (Allegro; Andante; Allegro); No 3 in G (Allegro assai; Andante; Presto); No 4 in A (Allegro; Andante; Presto)


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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular series of shorter CD reviews