These melodically elegant and interesting concertos by late Baroque composer Johann Joachim Quantz will delight just about any listener who enjoys baroque music. The recording is thoroughly enjoyable, with splendid performances by baroque transverse flute soloist Mary Oleskiewicz and the Concerto Armonico under harpsichordist, conductor and early music specialist Miklós Spányi. Issued by Naxos, these are the premiere recordings of all four works; in fact, only the concerto which opens the program was ever published, the other three existing in manuscript form only.
There could hardly be a composer whose name is more tied to a specific instrument than is that of Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773) to the flute. This German flautist, flute maker and composer became the most respected performer in all of Europe, composed in excess of 300 concertos for his instrument and wrote a treatise on flute performance practice which remains an invaluable window on performance concepts of the mid-18th century. The concerto form itself was relatively new in Quantz’ time, and his music reflects the many models by his most famous contemporaries, Vivaldi, Scarlatti and Handel. You can hear the high quality of Quantz’ music, and of the superb performances, in the sample provided, the third movement Vivace from Quantz’ Flute Concerto in D minor.
These performances can be considered definitively authentic. Ms. Oleskiewicz is considered an authority on music heard in the court of Prussian King Frederick the Great, especially that of Quantz. For example, her investigations lead to the decision to use bassoon and fortepiano as the continuo instruments for these recordings.
If you are drawn to this music, there are three other discs featured on Expedition Audio which you would likely also enjoy: one of flute sonatas by Michel Blavet, and two programs of baroque concertos by Friedrich Hartmann Graff and Anton Hoffmeister. Together with this Naxos recording, we have nearly five hours of aural bliss for the flute aficionado.
Johann Joachim Quantz was the most innovative performer and composer for the flute in the eighteenth century. He was also the teacher, composer and flute-maker to Frederick II, ‘The Great’, King of Prussia. Royal concerts were the principal venue for Quantz’s concertos where their constant invention and brilliance were intensified by his specially designed flutes. The A minor Concerto has only recently been retrieved from the Russian National Library in St Petersburg, whilst the G major’s cadenzas have been preserved, fully written-out, providing a valuable direct link to performance practices in Quantz’s time. Poignantly, Frederick himself completed the C minor Concerto after Quantz’s death.
Johann Joachim Quantz, composer
Johann Joachim Quantz was a German flutist, flute maker and composer. He began his musical studies as a child with his uncle (his father – a blacksmith – died when Quantz was young), later going to Dresden and Vienna. Although Johann Joachim Quantz wrote many pieces of music, mainly for the flute (including around 300 flute concertos), he is best known today as the author of Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversière zu spielen (1752), a treatise on flute playing.
Mary Oleskiewicz, baroque transverse flute
After winning first prizes in both the National Flute Association’s Baroque Flute Artist and Doctoral Dissertation Competitions, Mary Oleskiewicz quickly established herself as an international performer of historical flutes and the leading expert on the flutist, theorist and composer Johann Joachim Quantz. She is an authority on music at the 18th-century court of the Prussian King Frederick “the Great.”
Miklós Spányi, conductor
For some years Miklós Spányi’s work as a performer and researcher has been focused on the oeuvre of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Today he is one of the world’s most acknowledged C.P.E.Bach scholars and performers. For the Swedish label BIS he has been recording C.P.E.Bach’s Complete Keyboard Concertos as well as his Complete Solo Keyboard Music, of both series numerous cd’s have already been issued.
Concerto Armonico Budapest, was founded around 1983 by young musicians, at that time still studying at the Budapest F.Liszt Music Academy. As the second orchestra playing on period instruments in Hungary, the ensemble soon became very popular under the artistic direction of harpsichordist Miklós Spányi and violinist Péter Szüts.