WORKS: Sextet in C minor; Nonet in E flat; Trio in E minor
PERFORMER: Ambache Chamber Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: 30366 00302
The history books tell us little about Louise Farrenc. Born Jeanne-Louise Dumont in 1804, she entered the Paris Conservatoire at 15, studying composition with Antonín Reicha. At 17, she married the influential publisher Aristide Farrenc, a business acquaintance of Hummel, whose influence, alongside that of Schumann and Weber, became the guiding force for her own compositions. Long before the age of feminism and political correctness, Berlioz wrote that Farrenc’s music displayed ‘a talent rare among women’, and it’s good to find some of it explored on disc, especially in performances as lively and alluring as these.
Farrenc’s C minor Sextet is a bold, purposeful work, with an almost Beethovenian rigour and urgency. The Nonet, which was first performed in 1850 by an ensemble led by Joachim, has instant melodic appeal, and a style akin to that of Spohr’s Nonet (1813).
These works are played with panache and insight by the Ambache Chamber Ensemble, as is the lyrical Flute Trio which completes this disc. Recorded sound is detailed, but occasionally too clinical for my ears; a welcome find, nonetheless. Michael Jameson