Dotzauer

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COMPOSERS: Dotzauer
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: String Quintet in D minor, Op. 134; String Quartet, Op. 64; Six Pieces for Three Cellos, Op. 104
PERFORMER: Anner Bylsma (cello); L’Archibudelli, Smithsonian Chamber Players
CATALOGUE NO: SK 64307 DDD
‘Beside those artists mentioned hitherto, there remains the admirable Professor Dotzauer,’ wrote Berlioz in 1843. Wagner, too, related an encounter with this revered virtuoso after conducting Der Freischütz in 1844: ‘This is the way Weber himself took it,’ commented Dotzauer, ‘now I hear it again correctly!’

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Although a seminal figure in the development of modern cello technique, Dotzauer’s numerous compositions (including symphonies, overtures and an opera, Graziosa, staged in Dresden in 1841) never secured wide acceptance. Of his chamber works, only the frivolous Potpourri, for cello and guitar, has previously been recorded.

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But Dotzauer’s String Quintet is something of a revelation. Rebuffed as monotonously stylised after Hummel or Spohr, its severity, grandeur and ingenuity bespeak the hand of a master string player. The Quartet, Op. 64 (its obbligato cello part a vade-mecum of virtuosity), is ably constructed, and splendidly played, Anner Bylsma negotiating its successive cellistic hurdles with dignified aplomb. In partnership with fellow cellists Kenneth Slowik and Steven Doane, Bylsma performs Dotzauer’s cello trios, Op. 104; these nobly sonorous offerings illustrate the potential of another under-exploited medium. Performances and recording alike are of high quality. Michael Jameson