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Early Music

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Johann Joachim QUANTZ (1679-1773)
Flute Sonatas

Sonata in D major QV 1:42
Sonata in G minor QV 1:116
Sonata in D major for Two Transverse Flutes QV 2:15 *
Sonata in C major QV 1:9
Sonata in G minor QV 1:128
Trio Sonata in E flat major for Two Transverse Flutes QV 2:17 *
Mary Oleskiewicz, baroque transverse flute
Jean-Françoise Beaudin, Flute II *
Stephanie Vial, baroque cello
David Schulenberg, harpsichord and fortepiano
Recorded Baldwin Auditorium, Duke University, North Carolina January 1998
NAXOS 8.555064 [60.19]


Virtuoso, technical innovator, alumnus of the Dresden School, Quantz was the flute composer of the eighteenth century. His works, many written for Frederick II of Prussia (Frederick the Great, whom Quantz taught) are voluminous and generally undated – though some tangential evidence can be adduced from the apparent borrowings from his contemporaries. His undoubted virtuosity was accompanied by a generous and playful imagination and a stylistic imperative that embraced baroque dance forms in all their rich variety. He wrote over two hundred sonatas and over forty trios, a number of them displaying an admixture of inventive chromaticism and vocal impersonation, taking Vivaldi and Hasse as his preferred models.

The opening movement of the D major sonata sounds like a real test of the player’s breath control, a taxing feat met with resilience and flair by Mary Oleskiewicz and her transverse flute. The Arioso central movement, which opens outside the home key and wanders with impressive expressivity considering its relative brevity, serves notice of the deeper-than-they-seem element to Quantz’s sonatas and trios. The galant and attractive Alla Forlana finale wraps up a spirited opener. Speculatively the G minor sonata is the earliest here – dating maybe from 1720 – and its four-movement frame conforms very much to expected models. There is a good double fugue in the second movement Allegro and an explicitly vocalised recitative (filched from operatic tradition) before a nice, plump Tempo di Minuetto conclusion. Jean-Françoise Beaudin joins Oleskiewicz for the Trio sonata in D major (here backed by harpsichord – elsewhere the fortepiano and cello make their mark in the imaginative obbligato roles). The opening Largo is rather conventional, but the flautists’ articulation is fine in the succeeding Allegro in a work in which two long Allegros frame two short Adagios.

The aria-like opening of the C major Sonata is most attractively done and the apparent nod to Hasse’s contemporary Cleofide may help more accurately to date the Quantz (c1731) – it’s full of vivacity and brisk clarity. Once again, in the opening of the G minor Sonata, Quantz shows his splendid grasp of the vocal style – lyrically and expressively – as well as dishing out some tough sounding leaps in the central Allegro, one which tests breath control into the bargain. In fact he cited his own writing here in his textbook on the subject of technique. In the concluding E flat major sonata there is elegance and charm, piquancy and registral change with much lyrical writing – a model Larghetto opening in fact; a sopranino delicacy pervades it as does a Handelian sturdiness in the Presto.

Thoroughly well performed by Oleskiewicz – words of praise as well to cellist Stephanie Vial, harpsichordist and forte pianist David Schulenberg and Jean-Françoise Beaudin – this is a delightful example of sensitive and accomplished musicianship.

Jonathan Woolf

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