WORKS: Trio Sonata in F; Trio Sonata No. 3; Trio Sonata No. 7; Amour en ces lieux; Le triomphe de la beauté; Ode an den Tod
PERFORMER: Le Parlement de Musique Soloists
CATALOGUE NO: 222272
Gluck, one of opera’s giants, wrote little that wasn’t theatre music of one kind or another. But the small amounts of chamber and vocal music also figuring in his oeuvre are full of interest, as this attractive sampling from the Alsace-based Parlement de Musique demonstrates.
Six trio sonatas were published in London in 1746 – the year of Gluck’s sojourn there, during which he came under Handel’s sway – and two others are thought to date from a year later. Nobody would want to claim that they are outstanding examples in the genre; nevertheless, the three here display much lively, muscular invention. These are not premiere recordings, but they are the first on period instruments – which add tangy flavour to readings brisk and purposefully shaped.
The real gains, though, are five of the songs that Gluck wrote in his sixties on poems of Klopstock, a key 18th-century figure whom the composer knew and admired (a Klopstock-based Gluck opera was a late project never realised). Even in these polite, slightly colourless performances, the unadorned starkness of mature Gluck hits home – Schubert is sensed on the horizon. It’s a pity that one-fifth of the disc is devoted to Gluck-influenced Mozart works already widely available. The connection is worth making, but a recording offering all seven Klopstock Odes and other Gluck songs was more urgently needed. Max Loppert