Saturday, September 9, 2017

Luigi Boccherini - String Quartets (2017) - Ensemble Trifolium

Luigi Boccherini (Lucca, 1743 - Madrid, 1805)
String Quartets
Performer : Ensemble Trifolium
Release : 2017
Label : Lindoro

Ensemble Trifolium hailed from Spain recorded four Quartets of Luigi Boccherini in this recent CD. They are doing four popular works from Boccherini in Gm G205, in G "La Tirana" G223, in Gm G194 and in Cm G159.   You can hear it samples from this widget :

The CD notes translation :

The present recording allows to overthrow the myth of Luigi Boccherini (Lucca, 1743 - Madrid, 1805) as author of works of light tone, gallant and even superficial and brings us to a deeper facet of the composer, which runs parallel to the aesthetic- of the Central European Sturm und Drang.

Luigi Boccherini is an essential but controversial figure in the history of music in Spain. On the one hand, his birth in Lucca (Italy) marginalized him from the discourses elaborated by Spanish musicology with a nationalist tinge of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, despite the fact that most of his life and career are under the protection of Spanish institutions. In addition, the supposed Italian invasion that "contaminated" Spanish music throughout the eighteenth century also made it an uncomfortable figure to tackle. On the other hand, traditional historiography has considered Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) as the "inventor" of two instrumental genres of great importance in all later European music: the symphony and the string quartet. This supposed invention, which in reality consists in the adoption of a local model (the Viennese) as a universal (European) model of composition, helped to establish a German-centric canon that considered all other compositional traditions, among which the Italian-Spanish Boccherini, as less developed links. Popularly, the knowledge of Boccherini's music has been reduced to the celebrated minuet of his string quintet in Mi Mayor (G. 275) and his quintet titled La Musica Notturna delle strade di Madrid (G. 324). These pieces have portrayed the composer as a gallant and superficial author. Fortunately, numerous musicologists have worked on several facets of the life and work of Boccherini, offering a renewed image of the musician. This historiographical revision, along with the elaboration of the critical edition of his works, evidences the high quality and depth of his music and contradicts the idea of ​​the supposed isolation that Boccherini suffered in Spain.

Boccherini composed string quartets over forty years: his first opus (opus 2) was dated in 1761, while the last completed (opus 58) is from the year 1799. The four quartets chosen for this work present different chronologies. The earliest is dated in 1761, when Boccherini traveled to Vienna and to various Italian cities where he earned his living as an interpreter in orchestras or playing his own music. The two intermediate quartets were composed between 1778 and 1780, during his stay in Arenas de San Pedro (Avila) under the patronage of the infant Don Luis de Borbón (1727-1785). The later quartet is of the year 1792. After the death of Don Luis, Boccherini returned to Madrid, obtaining of Carlos III an annual pension for having been in the service of the infant. He also obtained the favor of other aristocratic patrons: he was appointed chamber composer of Prince Frederick William of Prussia, a position he held between 1786 and 1797, and worked as conductor and composer of the orchestra of the Duchess of Osuna and Benavente, Maria Josefa Alonso Pimentel (1750-1834), between March 1786 and December 1787.

String Quartet in G minor Op. 32 no 5 (G. 205)
1 Allegro comodo 4’45’’
2 Andantino 3’58’’
3 Menuetto con moto 4’48’’
4 Allegro giusto 4’24’’

String Quartet in G Major "La Tirana" Op. 44 no 4 (G. 223)
5 Presto 5’02’’
6 Tempo di minueto 4’49’’

String Quartet in G minor Op. 24 no 6 (G. 194)
7 Allegro assai 5’29’’
8 Adagio 6’59’’
9 Menuetto 3’56’’

String Quartet in C minor Op. 2 no 1 (G. 159)
10 Allegro comodo 6’18’’
11 Largo 7’29’’
12 Allegro 5’55’’

Total time: 63’58”


Carlos Gallifa, violín
Sergio Suárez, violín
Juan Mesana, viola
Javier Aguirre, violoncello

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Franz Xaver Gebel - String Quintet and Cello Sonata (2017)

Franz Xaver Gebel (1787-1843)
Performers : Hoffmeister String Quartet, Beni Araki (Piano), Martin Seeman (Cello)
Label : Profil
Release : January 2017

We already have the Hoffmeister String Quartet doing Franz Xaver Gebel string quartet in this recording back in 2015. As for this new CD, Hoffmeister Quartet continue to dig FX Gebel works which is his String Quintet no.8 in B flat major and Cello Sonata in E-flat Major. There are also already recordings of two string quintet in HERE. So, we will have at least three solid string quintet from meister Franz Xaver Gebel. He was grown up in Breslau and them moved to Russia in 1817.

Here are the CD notes :
"Franz Xaver Gebel was born in Fürstenau (Milin) near Breslau (Wrocław) in 1787 and received his musical education in Vienna, as did many of his Silesian peers. His list of teachers included Abbé Vogler and Johann Georg Albrechtsberger. In Vienna, Gebel was engaged at first as the director of music at the Theater in Leopoldstadt and published some compositions including the Great Sonata for pianoforte and violoncello. After working as a director of music in Vienna, Pest, Hermannstadt (Sibiu), and Lemberg (now Lviv in Western Ukraine), he ended up in Moscow in 1817, where he spent the rest of his life and gave private lessons for piano and composition. Some of his famous students included young philosophers and literati like Nikolai Stankevich and Nikolai Ogaryov, and other individuals who were significant for the later musical culture in Moscow: The author and music critic Nikolai Melgunow and the pianist Alexander Villoing, who was engaged as a teacher to the young Anton Rubinstein from 1837 and can be considered the founder of the Russian school for pianists. Of the pieces Gebel composed in Moscow, seven string quintets and one string quartet were printed in his last years in Moscow. Also a Russian translation of his composition studies was published – this was the first textbook on musical composition in Russian! We can find considerable appreciation of Gebel’s merits for the Moscow musical culture in the obituary by the anonymous Muscovite correspondent in the Leipzig Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung from June 23, 1843. The “adored and respected composer and pianist” was eulogized there as follows:

“Gebel was born in Breslau and lived here [in Moscow] for 35 years, in ceaseless dedication to improving musical tastes. As a pianist and theorist, he taught for 10 rubles an hour in the best homes and was highly esteemed as a master of his art. He lived - as every true artist - more for heaven than for earth. He did not worship money. If a poetic thought surprised him, he often forgot for weeks to give his lessons and sat at his desk putting his thoughts onto paper […]. Earlier, a select circle of art connoisseurs and art lovers, who purchased season tickets during the winter, were treated to a cycle including Gebel’s own work and that of other masters. These performances were composed of quartet and quintets and moved audiences into rapt awe by transporting them with truly beautiful pieces. Participants in these soirées look back on those occasions with great pleasure.”

Subscribers to Gebel’s evenings of chamber music had purchased tickets to what was probably the first public chamber concerts in Moscow, where they heard sophisticated pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven, and also quartets and quintets by Gebel himself. Gebel’s compositions apparently made quite an impression on his contemporaries. Almost 20 years after Gebel’s death, the String Quintet No. 8 and the Double Quintet Op. 28 were published at the Julius Schuberth publishing house in Leipzig in 1862. Today, this composer has mostly been forgotten in Russia as well as everywhere else."

Which read as very appealing background story. Fans of Classical period chamber music should rejoice upon this newly arrived quintet and cello sonata.

Franz Xaver Gebel - String Quintet and Cello Sonata (2017)

Franz Xaver Gebel: String Quintet No. 8 in B-Flat Major, Op. 27

I. Allegro agitato
II. Adagio espressivo
III. Scherzo: Allegro
IV. Finale: Andante - Allegro

Franz Xaver Gebel: Cello Sonata in E-Flat Major

I. Allegro
II. Romance: Adagio
III. Scherzo: Allegro moderato
IV. Allegro ma non troppo