Stefano Bagliano recorder, Collegium Pro Musica
Brilliant Classics 95386
QV2: 20, Anh.3; QV5:139; QV6:8a
How is it possible that such an important composer features so rarely on commercial recordings? If it weren’t for his writings, the HIP movement would struggle to understand 18th-century orchestral performance practice. And yes, ok, we are told he “churned out” concerto after concerto for the novelty-hungry King of Prussia, but how can we possibly know that they are not worth hearing at all without enterprising groups like Collegium Pro Musica and open-minded record companies like Brilliant Classics? Of course, it is just a re-working of the Stravinsky line about Vivaldi recycling the same piece ad nauseam. Bagliano and his friends have selected a concerto for recorder and strings, one with a flute added, a trio sonata for the two woodwinds (now in the appendix to the Quantz catalogue), and a G minor trio for recorder, violin and continuo. They are, without exception, well worth hearing, and very nicely played by one-to-a-part strings (including double bass) and continuo. It is a pity the programme is so short, in fact – with performances of this quality, I feel sure that most customers would have forgiven the inclusion of a recorder-free work. That said, I would rather have this slightly short recital than not have it, and I hope that I will not be the only enthusiastic critic, and that everyone concerned in this project will look to recording more of Quantz’s lovely music!
We have had a second review of this recording from David Bellinger:
Extraordinary as it might seem, had J. J. Quantz not been orphaned at ten years old and sent off to his musical uncle in Merseburg, then he would probably have followed in his father’s footsteps and become a blacksmith. When the uncle passed away after a few months, his son-in-law, A. Fleischhack, took Quantz as an apprentice for five years, providing the solid musical foundations for advancement. From this humble background Quantz would rise to become a great composer, theorist, flute maker and player; finally ending up in Potsdam alongside Frederick the Great of Prussia, as his friend and tutor. Proficient on nearly all the instruments of the age, he most probably began on violin and oboe, yet early on in his career, he met and studied with the famous French flautist P. G. Buffardin in Dresden. In 1724 he set off on a musical grand tour through Europe. His stay in Naples with Hasse was to leave a keen and lasting impression. It was during a performance of one of Hasse’s operas that the young Frederick, future King of Prussia, heard Quantz, and the long-lasting musical friendship began. The legacy and volume of music Quantz left is impressive, around 300 concerti for one or two flutes, and at least 200 sonatas.
The accomplished recorder player Stefano Bagliano has carefully selected some fine works that display Quantz’s obvious charms and range, with strong influences from Italy. Some of the delightful, slow second movements are disarmingly tender, and with such a dulcet lyricism, one could easily be listening to a sweetly singing voice. Through the art of transposition the recorder takes centre stage in these flute pieces, only the opening F-major work is left in the original key, so very apt for recorder!
These performances on the budget-priced Brilliant Classics label are most convincing and tasteful, if occasionally a little muted in recorded sound, but the leader of this fine band steers us through some great Quantz and may have stolen the march on some flautists here…