“Oleskiewicz plays superbly…she is a very finished player.”
By TODD GORMAN
for American Record Guide
Mary Oleskiewicz, flute; Stephanie Vial, cello; David Schulenberg, harpsichord / Hungaroton 32617—77 minutes
Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773) was the greatest flutist-composer before François Devienne (1759-1803). Like Devienne, Quantz wrote music that was idiomatic and demanding. He also left a treatise (1752) that explains at length how to perform the music of his time. Keys for his sonatas and concertos range up to four sharps and flats, and their writing may be considered to take the instrument to its outer limits. As court flutist to Frederick the Great, Quantz had carte blanche to compose; the king, an accomplished flutist and composer himself, played much of his music. Most of his output remains unpublished.
These seven sonatas are performed from manuscript scores and are probably heard for the first time since the death of Frederick the Great (1786). Notes by the flutist discuss the qualities of these sonatas, which trace the development of Quantz’s career. The earliest of these may date from the late 1720s; and the latest, in F (No. 349), is from 1769. The instrument used for this recording is a copy of a flute pitched at A=385 made by Quantz for Frederick the Great. The original is in the Dayton C. Miller Collection at the Library of Congress.
These three players are Americans with extensive background in baroque performance and scholarship. They are not afraid to take expressive liberties with the tempo in places, and they are not afraid to take the often brisk tempos recommended by Quantz. Oleskiewicz plays superbly, but more gently than, say, Konrad Hunteler or Rachel Brown. It is safe to say that she is a very finished player. The same artists have recorded six quartets by Quantz on Hungaroton 32286 (not reviewed) and other Quantz sonatas on Naxos (555064, July/Aug2003).