Krommer: Flute Quintets

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LABELS: Koch Schwann
WORKS: Flute Quintets
PERFORMER: Stamitz Quartet with Bruno Meier (fl)
Franz Krommer (alias Frantisek Kramár) was born in Moravia three years after Mozart and died in Vienna four years after Beethoven, setting him firmly within the Classical period. His substantial output included a good deal of orchestral and chamber music, as well as works for the piano and the Church. In his time, his string quartets were highly regarded, and he was considered by some as a rival to Beethoven. The modern age has tended to regard him as a petit maître whose music is fluent and skilful without being especially memorable.


Woodwind players nevertheless have occasion to be grateful to Krommer for his numerous chamber pieces featuring either clarinet or flute: the three quintets here, published between 1805 and 1822, are nicely written for a line-up of flute, violin, two violas and cello while openly favouring the flautist. Occasionally the learned mode Krommer employs shows up the undistinguished nature of his material, but his slow movements are airy and his minuets amiably energetic. In these modern-instrument performances, rather closely recorded, Bruno Meier’s fluting sounds a bit fulsome and the Stamitz Quartet a little too fierce; but the ensemble playing is adept throughout. George Hall