Johann Gottlieb Janitsch: Sonate da Camera, Vol. 3 / Notturna, Palameta

This is the third release in a series of recordings from ATMA Classique highlighting the chamber sonatas of German composer Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708-1763). As in previous issues, the excellent performances are by the Montreal-based Notturna ensemble, a group who dedicates itself to the performance of early music, especially for winds – so, these Janitsch quartets are right in their wheelhouse.

Composer Janitsch held various positions at the court of the Kingdom of Prussia, ultimately coming to serve in the personal orchestra of Frederick the Great, where he was also regularly commissioned to compose music for court ceremonies. Janitsch wrote a considerable number of chamber sonatas for continuo with various combinations of solo players performing on flute, oboe, oboe d’amore, violin and viola. The works on this album are all quartets for three solo instruments and basso continuo, drawn from the forty-one such surviving compositions. It isn’t certain when they were written, but stylistically, they are in a pre-classical or gallant style, colorfully scored, harmonically adventurous and contrapuntally, really quite masterful. The sample provided is the final movement of Sonata da camera in D major “Echo”, Op. 5 no. 1 for traverso (flute), oboe, viola da gamba and continuo. You can hear the effects that makes clear why the composer appended the designation “Echo” to this sonata.

Unfortunately, very little of Janitsch’s music has survived. Most of his manuscripts were willed to the Berlin Singakademie, which was ransacked during the Second World War and the majority is now lost. It is thought that additional Janitsch manuscripts have recently been discovered in the Ukraine. Let’s hope so, and also that they will soon be recorded; we probing listeners should absolutely look out for more from this fine composer.

Album Overview

Notturna ensemble returns with the third volume in its Sonate de camera series devoted to the music of Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708 to 1763). Under the direction of oboist Christopher Palameta, Notturna’s “spirited and sensitive playing” (Early Music America Magazine) draws on the transparency and expressiveness of early wind instruments to paint fresh pictures of unexplored historical repertoire. In collaboration with ATMA Classique and the Scottish publishing house Prima la musica!, the ensemble has cultivated a unique rapport with the music of Johann Gottlieb Janitsch.


Composer: Johann Gottlieb Janitsch

Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (19 June 1708 – 1763) was a German Baroque composer. Janitsch was born in Schweidnitz, Silesia. He graduated from the University of Frankfurt an der Oder. He held various positions at the court of the Kingdom of Prussia, eventually becoming the personal musician of Frederick the Great.

Atistic Direction: Christopher Palameta (oboe)

Called “velvet for the ear” by La Presse(Montreal, June 2006), Christopher Palameta has rapidly become one of the most celebrated baroque oboists in North America. While being hailed as a “refined and intelligent” performer by the Italian Press (Gabriele Formenti, CD Classico, June 2009), Early Music America has stated that Mr. Palameta’s “marvelous oboe playing is smooth and sparkling.”

Ensemble: Notturna

Notturna is a Montreal-based ensemble dedicated to the performance of early music written especially for wind instruments. The ensemble’s inaugural concert of Mozart wind octets in January 2006 was a live-to-air broadcast on the CBC. The members of the ensemble are all distinguished performers who specialize in historical performance of the 18th and 19th centuries.


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