Swiss Wind Soloists

Antonio Rosetti: Vier Harmoniemusiken

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The Danish label Classico's handsomely packaged Antonio Rosetti: Vier Harmoniemusiken yields fine performances of Rosetti's wind divertimenti by the locally named, but multi-national in membership, Swiss Wind Soloists. For once, the music inside is as enjoyable as the front cover image on the outside is attractive. The late eighteenth century form of Harmoniemusik, music performed by a small wind band designed for performance indoors rather than out, was a style that Rosetti made major contributions to, and yet recordings of this literature remain few -- three of these pieces have never been recorded before. These divertimenti are completely charming in addition to being musically engrossing in a way that belies the expected view that equates eighteenth century music for court performance with a sense of emptiness and complacency. The Partita in F, Murray B18, subtitled "The Hunt," does not have, at its climax, an unending retinue of hunting horn calls, but a wild and exciting pictorial representation of the hunt itself. The clarinets are silvery and fluid, the horns are stable, and the intonation of the Swiss Wind Soloists is impeccable. Recorded in Le Chaux-de-Fonds' Salle de Musique, the recording is very "live" with a precise reverberation, which may or may not be appealing depending on how much one values reverb on winds, but at least it isn't too distant and all of the instruments are clearly heard.

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