Salzburger Hofmusik

Anton Diabelli: Grande Sonate Brillante

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Insofar as it can be said to have one, the purpose of this disc is to make the name Anton Diabelli mean more than merely the fellow who had the foresight to get Schubert's publishing rights and who once hired Beethoven to write a set of variations on his own innocuous waltz theme. For those willing to venture into nearly unknown repertoire, this disc will give new meaning to Diabelli's name; to wit, Diabelli was, in addition to being a canny publisher, a canny composer -- the works on this disc are ideally aimed at the burgeoning market in domestic music-making in early nineteenth century Europe and were fabulously successful in their time. Performed here by an ensemble called the Salzburger Hofmusik -- the name is taken from the prince-archbishops chapel in Salzburg -- Diabelli's music proves to be full of catchy tunes and infectious rhythms with the added advantage of being easy enough for amateurs to play. The pieces on this disc are scored for one or two pianos (Hammerflügels in this case), guitar, or for some combination of all three, and they are mostly light and cheerful -- the delightful opening Rondo militaire or the lovely little Romanze -- and occasionally dramatic and baleful -- the grim Trauermarsch auf den Todt des Herrn Michael Haydn or the impressive Grande Sonate Brilliante in D minor that gives the disc its title. Although the music makes no strenuous demands on them, the musicians perform with commitment and aplomb. While Diabelli's music may not lower the prime interest rate, it will amuse listeners who are looking for something from early nineteenth century Europe that won't put any demands on their concentration. Profil's sound is clean, but a bit close and a little flat.

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