Early Music Reviews Quantz Flute Quartets

By Peter Holman (Feb. 2007)

“[These are]…splendidly vigorous and inventive contrapuntal works […] found by Mary Oleskiewicz […] that deserve to be widely taken up by Baroque groups.[…] Anyone who thinks Quantz was a mediocre composer should listen to this important recording.”

Mary Oleskiewicz (flute), Elizabeth Field (violin), Daniel Elyar (viola), David Schulenberg (harpsichord)

Quantz: Six flute quartets (Hungaroton HCD 32286, recorded 2003) and Bodinus: Musicalische Divertissements (CPO 999945-2, recorded 2003) are both examples of a genre much cultivated by German late Baroque composers: the quartet for three equal melody instruments and continuo. The set of six by Johann Joachim Quantz were found by Mary Oleskiewicz in the Berlin Sing-Akademie archives, rediscovered in Kiev in 2001 (see EM , xxxi (2003), pp. 484-505). They are spendidly vigorous and inventive contrapuntal works, quite different in style from Quantz’s rather galant flute concertos, and they deserve to become widely taken up by Baroque groups; Oleskiewicz’s edition was published by Steglein Publishing in 2004 . The performances, by Oleskiewicz herself (flute), Elizabeth Field (violin), Daniel Elyar (viola), Stephanie Vial (violoncello) and David Schulenberg (harpsichord), are idiomatic and accomplished, and do the music justice without striving for effect. A notable feature is the very low pitch (a’ = 385 ), dictated by the copy of one of Quantz’s flutes, now in the Library of Congress. Anyone who thinks Quantz was a mediocre composer should listen to this important recording.

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