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Hoffmeister’s Magic Flute, Vol. 1

Boris Bizjak (flute), Lana Trotovsek (violin); Piatti Quartet (SOMM)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Hoffmeister’s Magic Flute, Vol. 1 – Quartet in C minor; Trio Sonata in B flat major; Duetto in G major; Trio Sonata in D; Flute Quintet in E flat major
Boris Bizjak (flute), Lana Trotovsek (violin); Piatti Quartet
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0620   71:26 mins


How many listeners have come across any of the extremely copious output of Franz Anton Hoffmeister, who knew and published Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, among many other composers? Not a lot I think, though there are surprisingly many recordings of his works, most of them written for small chamber groups. That said, he wrote many operas and symphonic works, which he was in an ideal position to get performed, if not lastingly. He had a predilection for wind instruments, though, and his works for woodwind, especially those involving the flute, still get an occasional outing. They, at any rate, are mainly what survives in the recorded catalogue and here we have premiere recordings of six – including his Flute Quintet and Quartet, admirably taken on by the Piatti Quartet and Boris Bizjak.

Hoffmeister was gifted, or cursed, with uncanny fluency, and now that I have heard several of his works, I believe he is in no serious sense ‘creative’. Mozart dedicated the String Quartet K499 to him – his only real claim to fame, but the mention of Mozart is fatal for Hoffmeister. Mozart wrote music which certainly aims to please, but that’s only the starting point. Hoffmeister can, at his best, only please, and anyone wanting more than that must look elsewhere.


Michael Tanner