HOFFMEISTER: Quintets Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 – Simon Fuchs, oboe/ Primoz Novsak, violin/ Michel Rouilly, viola/ Katja Fuchs, viola/ Jakob Hefti, horn/ Manfred Sax, bassoon – Tudor

by | Dec 3, 2009 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

HOFFMEISTER: Quintets Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 – Simon Fuchs, oboe/Primoz Novsak, violin/ Michel Rouilly, viola/ Katja Fuchs, viola/ Jakob Hefti, horn/Manfred Sax, bassoon – Tudor Multichannel SACD 7124, 73:32 **** [Distr. by Naxos]:

Franz Anton Hoffmeister was well-known during his day. Just a little younger than Mozart, he outlived the master by 21 years. His early excursions into the publishing business proved a noble failure, but not for all concerned—C.F. Peters bought his Leipzig subscription business—which was faltering—and the rest, as they say, is history. From about 1807 until is death in 1812 on he devoted himself to composing exclusively, his early training being for the law.

The man was madly prolific—ten works for the stage, many piano pieces (and 20 sonatas), 44 symphonies, 15 string quartets, 34 string quintets, 36 flute trios, and 100 flute quartets would seem to prove his mettle. His scoring is a little unusual in some instances, as we see on this disc. Though I have labeled these as “quintets” Hoffmeister was more inclined to call them “notturnos”, indicating their use for evening entertainment, and they are indeed quite lighter than similar fare by Mozart, though still delightful listening for those in the mood for table music.

The scoring is basically oboe, two violas, and bassoon; add violin (1, 2, and 6) or horn (4 and 5) and you have the completion. In 4 and 5 we have a five-movement scheme, while the others dally with three movements only, each very common in the divertimento or cassation environment. I have a number of Hoffmeister discs in my collection and always find them affably entertaining without demanding anything profound from the listener. These are no different, though the sprightly playing and wide spacious SACD sound add to the attraction for those inclined to the repertory.

— Steven Ritter

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