Greg Dikmans flute, Lucinda Moon violin, Elysium Ensemble
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It is important to note that the great theoretician of the Baroque flute, Quantz, author of the seminal Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte transversiere zu spielen (1752), much consulted by modern period instrument flautists, was also a very fine player himself as well as a talented composer. Quantz lives and breathes the galant (or empfindsam) style, and this sensibility in conjunction with his expertise on the flute produced works, which seem utterly redolent of the mid-eighteenth century. The Elysium Ensemble are entirely in tune with this sensibility, and they give wonderfully eloquent accounts of three of Quantz’s concerti with, as the programme note states it, ‘a bonus slow movement’, the beguiling Cantabile e frezzante QV 5:116. Played on muted strings and with ‘fizzing’ ornamentation, this charming ‘bonus’ in many ways sums up the group’s approach to Quantz’s music generally. A strong sense of melodic line is enhanced by deliciously appropriate ornamentation, while the wonderful sense of ensemble evokes perfectly the original performances of this music by Quantz himself and his colleagues at the Potsdam court. If ever an argument for one-to-a-part performances of concerti were needed, it is here in spades. In addition to providing some exemplary Baroque flute playing, intelligent and deeply moving, Greg Dikmans also supplies a very erudite programme note, which concentrates on applying Quantz’s theories of playing to his own music, while astutely leaving the biographical details to the group’s website.
D. James Ross