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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Septet, Op. 20 [44:10]
Sextet, Op. 81b [14:38]
Consortium Classicum (Dieter Klöcher (clarinet), Karl-Otto Hartmann (bassoon), Jan Schröder, Klaus Wallendorf and Sarah Wallies (horns), Andrea Krecher and Gerdur Gunnarsdottir (violins), Christine Hörr (viola), Martin Menking (cello), Jürgen Normann (double bass))
rec. September, December 1994, Fürstliche Reitbahn Arolsen

Experience Classicsonline

Despite their sometimes late opus numbers, it’s worth remembering that all of Beethoven’s chamber music for winds alone or for winds with strings dates from the start of his compositional career. He was also fairly self-deprecating about it as a genre, claiming that his Op. 71 Sextet was written in one night and was fit for “the rabble”. However, despite his public claims he must have had high ambitions for the music he composed in this genre: notice how he avoids using the title Divertimento for both the works on this disc. The Op. 20 Septet, in particular, is laid out on a grand scale of six movements, almost on a par with Mozart’s Gran Partita, with a slow introduction, set of variations and an expansive slow movement. It’s not Grade A Beethoven – the first movement, in particular tends to chug along a bit and the scale of the Adagio isn’t that well handled – but it contains some very attractive moments and it’s very well played by Consortium Classicum. The winds shine especially well, and the strings are joined by two very characterful horn players for the Sextet. Even though there is only one less player, this feels like a much more transparent, delicate work due to the instrumentation (string quartet plus two horns). It’s also light-hearted where the other aspires to something more serious, particularly in the amiable finale. The horns add distinctive colour to the Adagio, the work’s finest moment, when they play in tandem, adding an Alpine tinge to what is otherwise a civilized, drawing room world. The playing is excellent throughout this disc, and the sound is of MDG’s characteristic demonstration quality. It’s something for Beethoven enthusiasts who want to explore a less well known aspect of the composer’s output.
Simon Thompson




































































































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