Johann Joachim QUANTZ (1697-1773)
Concerto in F for recorder and strings QV5:139 [16:41]
Concerto in G minor for recorder, flute and strings QV6:8a [17:40]
Trio Sonata in C for recorder, flute and b.c. QV2:Anh.3 [11:12]
Trio Sonata in G minor for recorder, violin and b.c.QV2:20 [9:04]
Stefano Bagliano (recorder), Collegium Pro Musica
rec. 2016, Convento di S. Maria di Castello, Genova
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95386 [54:43]
Have you ever been to the German city of Potsdam? If you have not, the music on this CD might be the ideal introduction to a period experience of this grand monarchical dwelling, steeped in history. Just imagine the splendour of the palaces, the grand gardens and artificial lakes as backdrop to Johann Joachim Quantz’s cheerful flute music…so marvellously executed on this recording. Above all, however, this is an excellent recording to become acquainted with Quantz.
Born the son of a blacksmith in 1697, but musically educated by his uncle before studying music and quickly making his way to Dresden, Quantz eventually became flautist in the royal orchestra of August II (the Strong). Soon after, he left on his grand tour of Europe, eventually coming to Britain and meeting Handel in London, who encouraged him to stay there. Quantz, however returned to Dresden taking all these impressions and influences home with him. As August II was apparently very fond of Quantz, he only allowed him to travel to Berlin rather than moving there as requested by the Queen of Prussia. When the Prussian crown prince was crowned King Friedrich II (the Great) in 1740, Quantz finally moved to the Prussian Court at Potsdam – accepting a position as his flute teacher, flute maker and court composer. He lived in Potsdam until his death some 32 years later. During this time, he composed over 300 works for the flute, playing them on the specially devised instruments he had designed and built in order to showcase the beauty of his melodies. As his compositions were reserved for court enjoyment or teaching, hardly any of his music had been published during his lifetimes.
How privileged we are today not only to be able to listen on this recording to two of his concertos for recorder and strings, a trio sonata (for recorder, flute and basso continuo) and another trio sonata (for recorder, violin and basso continuo), but also to hear them so masterly executed. The booklet provides good background information in English and Italian, the latter written by the soloist Stefan Bagliano himself. He is professor for recorder and baroque chamber music at the Pedrollo conservatoire of Vicenza and one of Italy’s finest recorder player, who performed as soloist in more than 700 festivals and concerts. Bagliano is also the founder and director of the ensemble Collegium Pro Musica and has produced several CDs. This is his first recording of Quantz’s music. His virtuosic approach is most suitable to showcase the apparent ease with which Quantz keeps the balance between melodiousness, demanding technique and virtuosity in his compositions. This is music perfect for actively listening to as well as for providing an agreeable background accompaniment for entertainment – both of which would have been asked for at the Potsdam Court. Collegium Pro Musica approach this from exactly the right angle and bring Quantz’s compositions back to life, maybe not exactly as they would have sounded, but close enough for the modern listener’s enjoyment. The fact that this recording is an Italian production somewhat draws a circle to Quantz’s own life, studying counterpoint with Francesco Gasparini in Rome and meeting Alessandro Scarlatti in Naples. Potsdam’s architecture, with its manifold Italianate elements.
This CD makes one want to hear more of Quantz – luckily, there is a fair share of recordings of his output out on the market, not all of which are so well executed as this one, but a good start for exploring further. Secondly, one might consider getting hold of some recordings of Bagliano after having been left spellbound by his rendering. Oh, and thirdly one should consider packing one’s suitcase and exploring Potsdam in Quantz’s footsteps.