One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb for £5.75/7.00 postage paid World-wide.
You may prefer to pay by Sterling cheque or Euro notes to avoid PayPal. Contactfor details

MusicWeb Purchase button

Visit our partner ArkivMusik

Jakub Jan RYBA (1765-1815)
Flute Quartet in C [15:35]
String Quartet in A minor [7:00]
Flute Quartet in F [18:00]
String Quartet in D minor [9:56]
Jan Ostrý (flute)
M. Nostitz Quartet
rec. Studio Arco Diva, Domovině, Prague, November 2004. DDD

NAXOS 8.557729 [50:54]

Jakub Ryba was a prolific Czech composer, particularly of church music. Much of his small-scale output now seems to be lost. Apparently he wrote 72 quartets but only the four works on this disc survive. Vanhal and Mysliveček were known to be influences, along with Haydn and C.P.E. Bach.

The disc alternates two flute quartets with two string quartets and, given the relative paucity of the former in the repertoire, these are likely to be its principal attraction. Mozartís four flute quartets are the best known examples in the genre and amongst his most charming chamber works. These were written about three decades later in 1811. The music falls very easily on the ear, Mozartian grace being much in evidence. Both flute works are in three movements with the C major being the more conventionally structured. The F major quartet begins with an Allegretto full of bird calls, follows with a Hungarian theme and variations and concludes with a sparkling Presto. It demonstrates more thematic originality and provides a good showcase for the talents of Jan Ostrý and the tonal beauty of his instrument.

Members of the M. Nostitz quartet provide Ostrý with excellent support and the complete ensemble also have two excursions on their own in three movement works lasting less than ten minutes each. Apart from Webernís Op.28, which could hardly be more different, I am struggling to think of full string quartets as short as these. Yet it would be a mistake to dismiss them. The D minor work opens with a heartfelt Adagio, indicating not only that Ryba could write in a profound vein but even looking forward in style half a century or so towards Dvorakís early quartets (which are at the opposite end of the size spectrum). A minuet follows and the concluding movement is a dark-toned scherzo which concludes indeterminately. The A minor quartet is less of the same, an even slighter conception which nevertheless has its moments.

Rybaís music has hardly been represented on disc previously but this CD makes a good case for it. The playing of the Prague-based musicians is consistently warm and stylish, the recording very natural and the documentation good. All round this is a typical Naxos bargain that will probably delight those who fancy a lucky dip. Fans of Mozartís flute quartets should certainly give this a spin.

Patrick C Waller


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.