Does the name Sigiswald Kuijken mean anything to you? How about his brother Wieland Kuijken? How about the name of the string quartet they founded together with François Fernandez and Marleen Theirs in 1986, the Kuijken Quartet? No? It's not surprising. Although the players are among the finest Dutch period instrument musicians, with the Kuijken brothers having been frequent partners with harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt, the Kuijken Quartet has made only a few recordings for the Japanese Denon label, all of which got poor circulation outside of Japan and Europe and most of which have long since gone out of print.
This set of recordings from the vaults of the Decca and Philips labels has an advantage over other samplers of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in that it gives listeners complete multimovement works, not just a single movement or an excerpt of a movement. On the other hand, because of this, the number of works presented is by necessity much smaller than other compilations. Rest assured, though, that the producers selected the best of the best of Mozart's compositions. The symphonies are represented by No. 40 and No. 41 on the first disc of the set, with Georg Solti conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Johann Baptist Vanhal's clarinet sonatas are mostly notable for their historical value. Written between 1801 and 1810, they legitimized the clarinet as an equal partner in the sonata form. They did for that instrument what Beethoven did for the cello around the same time. Until the turn of the century, the clarinet had mainly appeared in ensembles with multiple other instruments, like the great quintets of Mozart and Weber.
Two of the greatest and best-loved chamber works for clarinet. Maximiliano Martin, one of the most charismatic players of his generation, is principal clarinet of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The Badke Quartet, formed in 2002, is widely recognised as one of Britain's finest string quartets, receiving widespread acclaim for its energy and vibrancy. 'Martin elegantly conveys the soul and introspection of Brahms…'
Franciscus (30 October 1934 – 13 August 2014) was a Dutch conductor, recorder player and baroque flautist.
This is a very fine set of Mozart's "complete" wind concertos, though Deutsche Grammophon does not make that claim, to their credit. The Flute Concerto #2 is not here, though that work is simply a lazy reworking of the Oboe Concerto. Some fragments for horn are also missing, though we get the Andante for Flute. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra plays very well throughout, with instrumentals carefully and beautifully balanced.
Unquestionably, the clarinet quintets of Mozart and Brahms have earned time-honored and well-deserved places in the repertoire of clarinetists worldwide. In the informative and well-written annotations by Eric Hoeprich, we read that “they embody the maturity, depth, experience, and possibly even a premonition of an otherworldliness soon to be experienced firsthand.”