Carin van Heerden / L'Orfeo Wind Ensemble

Josef Myslivecek: Complete Wind Quintets & Octets

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Josef Myslivecek was a Bohemian-born composer whose music Mozart heard in Italy in the 1770s and admired. As Christian Moritz-Bauer points out in his rather technical but informative booklet notes, one aspect of Mozart's style, the opera-like instrumental texture with repeated bass notes and an alternation of melody and rapid runs in the top line, is likely attributable to Myslivecek's influence. These quintets and octets were seminal in another way, as well; they were early examples of the wind ensemble music that remained popular well into the second quarter of the 19th century. Myslivecek treats the two ensembles differently; the three octets are serious pieces that suggest Mozart's essays in the genre, with substantial challenges for the players (sample the treacherous upper-register horn passages in the Allegro spiritoso movement of the Ottetto 2 in E Flat major, EvaM 8:Eb2, track 13), while the quintets, some of which Myslivecek wrote quite late in his syphilis-cursed life, are shorter, with lovely Larghetto movements opening the work in several cases. Moritz-Bauer makes too much of Myslivecek's supposedly unorthodox forms in his Allegro movements; a composer working in Italy in the 1770s who did not know Haydn would not have perceived what became known as sonata form as a standard. The fast movements are attractive on their own terms, with a certain smooth elegance in the transition from one thematic area to another. The historically oriented performances from oboist Carin van Heerden's L'Orfeo Bläserensemble might be a bit unsettling for those who haven't had their first encounter with natural horns, but they're idiomatic, lively, and attuned to the strain of melancholy in this composer's music. A very nice find for Classical-period enthusiasts, with above-average sound.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Ottetto 1 in E fmat major, (EvaM 8:Eb1)
1 4:50
2 4:01
3 6:18
Quintetto 3 in E flat major, (EvaM 5:Eb3)
4 1:48
5 2:47
6 1:03
Quintetto 4 in B major, (EvaM 5:Bb3)
7 2:01
8 3:03
9 0:55
Quintetto 5 in F major, (EvaM 5:F3)
10 2:05
11 1:04
12 0:42
Ottetto 2 in E flat major (EvaM 8:Eb2)
13 3:40
14 3:36
15 2:42
Quintetto 1 in D major, (EvaM 5:D2)
16 2:18
17 2:54
18 1:26
Quintetto 2 in G major, (EvaM 5:G2)
19 2:17
20 1:30
21 1:18
Quintetto 4 in C major, (EvaM 5:C3)
22 2:11
23 2:05
24 0:43
Ottetto 3 in B flat major, (EvaM 8:Bb1)
25 4:26
26 2:47
27 1:15
blue highlight denotes track pick