Viennese classicist Hoffmeister was consider one of the leading composers in his lifetime, which ended in 1812. He founded a music publishing business and during Mozart’s life was his main publisher. However, his business was not a great success and in 1807 he sold it, devoting the remainder of his life entirely to composing. He had already made a major effort in this direction; in fact he was among the period’s most productive composers – with 44 proven symphonies and some 100 quartets for flute and strings.
Hoffmeister’s Notturnos stand out due to their unusual scoring – matching the wind instruments against the strings and with a concentration of the composer’s favorite instrument, the viola. By their titles Hoffmeister wanted not to suggest they were in a particular form, but only that they were suitable for evening performances. The works are in from three to five movements and not all six instruments are used in each Notturno – half of them dispense with the horn. In general the Notturnos are more basic and less advanced than similar works of Mozart or Haydn, but they abound in good melodies and a witty Classical-period style. The (mostly) Swiss musicians are first rate and Tudor’s transparent multichannel sound aids in the feeling that they are up there performing your just-published works especially for you.
– John Sunier