Krommer: Oboe Quartet No. 1 in C; Grand quatuor in F, Op. 89; Concertino in C, Op. 26/1 (arr. Brönnimann)

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COMPOSERS: Krommer
LABELS: Ars musici
WORKS: Oboe Quartet No. 1 in C; Grand quatuor in F, Op. 89; Concertino in C, Op. 26/1 (arr. Brönnimann)
PERFORMER: Ensemble Pyramide
CATALOGUE NO: AM 1372-2
The Krommer ‘revival’ was begun by wind ensembles – this contemporary of Beethoven was master of the octet Harmonie – but the smaller-scale chamber music is still unfamiliar. The early Oboe Quartet teems with ideas, leaving little space for their working-out – not so much an argument as a chain of charming Classical clichés from oboe and violin (not quite comfortable in some stratospheric figuration), with viola and cello accompanying. The Grand quatuor, here getting its world premiere recording, is a different matter, much more developed by a quartet of near-equals. It rouses Ensemble Pyramide to considerable passion and intensity through the dramatic unisons, foreign tonalities and harmonic adventures of the first movement. The menuet has a familiar Krommer fingerprint in a passage of 2/4 rhythm in the 3/4 time-signature, while the Andante is a moving minor-key flute lament. There is little enough repertoire for this ensemble, so flautist Markus Brönnimann has taken a Concertino for flute, oboe and string orchestra, already transcribed by Krommer from a popular early string quartet, and rescored it as a quintet. It works splendidly, restored to real chamber music with musical interest shared between all five parts. Though recorded balance favours the winds over violin, the quintet’s elegance and charm is irresistible. George Pratt

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