LABELS: Dabringhaus und Grimm
WORKS: Sinfonia concertante in G; Symphony in E flat, Op. 41; Overture in D
PERFORMER: Wuppertal SO/Peter Gülke
CATALOGUE NO: MDG 335 0661-2
Reicha, friend and exact contemporary of Beethoven, is beloved of wind players, for whom he wrote the first (very long) wind quintets, and little known by anyone else. He deserves better. This disc reveals an imagination brimming with ideas, even if not all of them come off – angular phrase-lengths, awkward shifts to unexpectedly remote keys, and an overture in 5/8 time seventy years before Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique.
The recorded sound is refreshingly free of engineering interference, though the Wuppertal Stadthalle is rather over-resonant – empty, presumably. The orchestra is excellent – crisp, focused strings and a finely integrated wind band – in this disc which provides much to enjoy for its wit and novelty. George Pratt