Quantz Flute Concertos CD (NAXOS) Receives More Critical Acclaim

Oleskiewicz performs the fast passagework of the Allegro movements flawlessly and with a sense of ease, despite arpeggios and brilliant figuration in keys such as C minor…The fine technique and musicality of Oleskiewicz, coupled with the delightful rarity of…these concerti, make this CD one that should be at the top of everyone’s acquisition list. —Early Music America

Johann Joachim Quantz Flute Concertos, performed by Mary Oleskiewicz, traverso; Concerto Armonico, Miklos Spanyi, director, Naxos 8.573120.

Early Music America, Winter 2013 (pp. 23-24), reviewed by Kelly Roudabush

“Largely known today as a galant composer, Johann Joachim Quantz (1679 [recte: 1697]-1773) was also an expansive and innovative composer with a variety of styles, as Mary Oleskiewicz (a flutist and scholar active in the U.S. and Germany) demonstrates. The best-known concerto by Quantz is his Concerto in G Major, QV 5:174, mostly because of a 19th-century performance by flutist Moritz Fuerstenau tha resurrected the piece; Quantz, however, has much more to offer in the realm of the concerto than this one piece. This CD includes four concerti: in A minor (QV 5:238), G major (QV 5:165), C minor (QV 5:38), and D minor (QV 5:81). Only the last of these has been published, while the rest still remain in manuscript form in Berlin.* It is due to Oleskiewicz’s research and dedication to the music of Quantz and Frederick the Great that we have the privilege of experiencing these concerti, which have been recorded here for the first time.

Quantz’s concerti follow a fast-slow-fast order of movements and mostly utilize a ritornello form, alternating between the ensemble and soloist. The first concerto on the CD, QV 5:238 in A minor, opens up with a driving line in the orchestra that quickly evolves into a lyric melody and continues to alternate between the driving continuo and the lyrical theme, reminiscent of a compositional style we associate more with Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach than with Quantz.

The musicians of the Hungarian orchestra do an impeccable job of staying light and mirroring the lovely musical nuance of Oleskiewicz throughout the performances of all the concerti, allowing the flute to shine through. The other three concerti follow in similar fashion with a variety of sentiments and technical passagework that keep the listener consistently engaged. Oleskiewicz performs the fast passagework of the Allegro movements flawlessly and with a sense of ease, despite arpeggios and brilliant figuration in keys such as C minor, though the tempos are more cautious in this key than in G major. The fine technique and musicality of Oleskiewicz, coupled with the delightful rarity of hearing these concerti, make this CD one that should be at the top of everyone’s acquisition list.”

See details of this recording in my discography.

*Factual correction to the review (by M.O.): no copy of QV 5:238 exists in Berlin; it is a lost concerto, removed from Berlin after WWII, that was recently rediscovered by Oleskiewicz in a Russian archive.

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