Joseph Fiala Quartet in B-flat major for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello

Score and parts, first print, edited by Peter Wuttke (DM 1477)
Doblinger: Diletto Musicale. 22pp + 4 parts.

Fiala was born in 1748 and died in 1816. He was taught oboe and the cello near Prague and later moved to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, and finally – after various further travels – settled as a cellist at Donaueschingen. He was familiar with Mozart, and was solo cello in the first Salzburg performance of Il Seraglio.

I’ve no experience of Fiala, but I find this quartet for oboe, violin, viola and cello impressive, as far as it goes. But there’s a gap from bar 74 of the first movement: bars 75-164 are omitted. There is then a completely editorial Menuetto, with no basis for it’s presence. The first section of the third and last movement (Rondo poco Andante 2/2 – where does the heading come from?) is interrupted by a 6/8 Allegro beginning at bar 88, before the movement resumes at bar 104: the remaining 26 bars have no close relationship with the first 20. I was struck when I played through the first movement, especially the exposition, which is varied and very impressive: I can understand that the editor longed to complete it, but there are no grounds for completely inventing most of the work. It could be an interesting adaptation by a student, but hardly worth publication. Since it is published, it should be ascribed to Fiala and Wuttke. Meanwhile, I’ll keep my ears open for Fiala’s other oboe quartets. The volume is available from Universal Edition, 48 Great Marlborough Street in London, at £19.50.

Clifford Bartlett