30 JUNE 2024


The albums below are "Classical Releases Of Current Key Significance," or "CROCKS", if you will. To purchase an album, simply click on one of the web site retail outlets given in the "AVAILABILITY" table under the write-up.

The album cover may not always appear.
Dauprat: Grand Sextuor; Die Detmolder Hornisten [MD&G]
Here's an MD&G CD in that label's "Preziosa (Precious)" series, which is devoted to reissues of their greatest past releases. This one was a world premiere recording, and remains a "must" for all French horn enthusiasts!

The featured composer, Louis François Dauprat (1781-1868), was born and lived in Paris. More specifically, during the late 1790s, young Louis studied music at that city's renowned conservatory (Conservatoire de Paris), where he distinguished himself as a hornist.

Then from 1806 to 1808, he played in the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux's orchestra, and 1808 through 1810 found him with the Paris Opera one. What's more, he also taught at the aforementioned Conservatory up until 1842.

During those years Dauprat wrote a small body of works for horn that include five concertos as well as a number of chamber pieces. One in the latter category is featured here, namely his Grand Sextuor (Great Sextet), which is in C major and scored entirely for horns.

This is in six episodes and begins with a sonata-form-like one [T-1] that has a "Lento (Slow)" introduction based on a wistful theme heard at the outset [00:00]. It's followed by a related, spirited melody [01:09] that begins the "Allegro risoluto (Fast and tenacious)" remaining passages. These have a lovely countermelody [02:24], captivating development [03:20], jolly recap [04:53] and a nostalgic afterthought [06:33], which ends things happily.

After that, Dauprat serves up a delightful "Allegro moderato (Moderately fast)" marked Minuetto (Minuet) [T-2]. Here genial outer sections [00:00, 05:53] based on an opening amicable idea, hug a more easygoing segment [03:54-05:52] featuring a related, peaceful tune.

Then we get an "Andante (Slow)" [T-3] episode, which starts with a melancholy thought [00:00]. This is all the more moving as played by these horns, and becomes the subject of an affecting lament. Despite a couple of more hopeful moments [03:35, 04:20, 05:39], it ends quite tragically.

Another Minuetto (Minuet) is next [T-4]. However, this time around, it's a fleet of foot, "Allegro (Fast)" one. That said, this has scurrying outer sections [00:00, 04:45] featuring an initial chortling number. These lie on either side of a mild section [03:15-04:44] based on a related, mellow thought.

After that there's an "Adagio (Slow)" episode [T-5], which begins with a gorgeous, glowing theme [00:00]. It parents two more ideas, which are respectively stalwart [01:16] and confident [02:27]. Then all three undergo a captivating exploration [03:22] that brings things to a quiet conclusion.

The sonata-form, "Allegro moderato (Moderately fast)" Finale [T-6] is launched by a couple of "left field" horns playing a fickle theme [00:00]. This adjoins a related songful second one [00:41], and the foregoing is repeated [01:32]. Then there's a venatic development [03:04], literal recap [04:01] and a jolly coda [05:17], which closes this musical "Hornucopia" with a big grin.

These performances are by Die Detmolder Hornisten (The Detmold Horn Players). They include hornist-teacher Michael Höltzl (1936-2017) plus five of his students (Koichi Noda, Vincent Levesque, Laura Hill, Armin Suppan and Jürgen Haspelmann), whom he taught at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold, located in Germany, some 250 miles west of Berlin. While the horn is one of the most difficult instruments to learn, let alone play, these musicians deliver a stunning account of Monsieur Dauprat's challenging work.

This recording was made during 1982 in the apse of Detmold's Martin Luther Church (Martin-Luther-Kirche), with the musicians sitting in a semicircle. And since horns direct their sound rearwards, microphones were placed behind as well as in front of them (see the album booklet for more details). Consequently, we get a vibrant sonic image in an enriching ambience.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y240630)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Flury, R.: Chamber Music V1 (String Quartets Nos. 1 & 4); Colla Parte Quartet [Toccata]
Swiss composer Richard Flury (1896-1967) is one of those lesser-known ones that the adventurous Toccata label has been championing. He left a large oeuvre across all genres, and they've already given us six releases devoted to him (see TOCC-0427, 0552, 0580, 0601, 0632, 0643), the last of which we told you about (see 31 August 2023).

Now here's another, it being their first volume devoted to his chamber music. This begins with his String Quartet No. 1 in D minor (1926) that's the first of seven numbered ones, which stylistically speaking are all late-romantic, four-movement works.

Its "Allegro (Fast)" marked opener [T-1] is sonata-form-like and has a congenial first theme [00:03], playful second [01:13], plus a lyrical third [02:30]. These undergo a contrapuntally spiced development [03:26] followed by a captivating recapitulation [04:32]. Then the latter sports a capricious coda [06:05] with a closing cadence [06:15], which ends the movement affably.

The "Andante (Slow)" second [T-2] is a winsome, contrapuntally flavored, meandering utterance. It has a somewhat atonal opening thought [00:00], and smacks of moments in Alban Berg's (1885-1935) String Quartet (Op. 3, 1910).

Then there's a spirited "Scherzo" [T-3]. Here a whimsical initial idea [00:00] is the basis for capricious outer sections [00:00, 02:12]. These bracket a titillating trio [01:04-02:11] featuring a couple of related, merry tunes [01:04, 01:56], and end the movement full circle.

The "Allegro vivo (Fast and lively)" last one [T-4] is rondoesque and has a recurring, effervescent idea heard at the outset [00:00]. This is then interspersed with related, somewhat melancholy passages [00:41, 01:18, 04:05] as well as memories of the work's first movement [02:28, 03:09, 05:06]. Then it's the basis for a frantic coda [05:26], which brings the work to a swift conclusion.

Turning to the String Quartet No. 4 in C major (1940), Richard dedicated this to his Viennese-trained, musicologist-teacher Ernst Kurth (1886-1946). That said, its initial "Allegro (fast)" movement [T-5] opens with shimmering passages [00:01], soon followed by a lengthy, contemplative Brucknerian theme (CB) [00:03]. This undergoes five treatments that range from merry [02:08] to searching [04:00], restive [06:08], playful [08:28] and songlike [09:43]. Then a pensive sixth [11:18] ends the movement tranquilly.

The next "Andante (Slow)" one [T-6] starts with a hymnlike idea (HI) [00:00], which is a distant relative of CB. It's the subject of three variations that are sequentially aspiring [00:36], humble [01:44] and frisky [03:51]. Then HI returns [05:45] along with a pleasant afterthought [06:25] that brings the movement to a serene conclusion.

A "Vivace (Spirited)" scherzo follows [T-7]. Here an opening, waggish version of HI [00:00] is the basis for mercurial outer sections [00:00, 03:58]. These bookend a titillating trio [02:34-03:57] featuring HI, and end things like they began.

Then there's an "Allegro molto (Very fast)" fourth movement [T-8] having vivacious passages based on a CB-derived ditty [00:00, 04:08]. They surround a lovely related, Viennese waltzlike episode [02:39-04:06], which brings to mind Flury's studies with Ernst Kurth (see above). All of the foregoing is very infectious music, and brings the work as well as this release to an engaging close.

These performances are by the Swiss-based Colla Parte Quartet (CPQ), where "Colla Parte" is Italian for "With the Part". Its members are first-violinist Georg Jacobi, second-violinist Sussana Holliger, violist Friedemann Jähnig and cellist Eva Simmen. They deliver technically accomplished, spirited renditions of both quartets that will leave you looking forward to their upcoming release of Flury's second and third ones.

The recordings were made 14-15 April 2021 at the Zürich based SRF Radio Studio [T-1 thru 4], and 12-13 December 2022 in the Reformed Church located in Oberbalm [T5 thru 8]. Despite the different times and places, both present generous sonic images in pleasant surroundings with the instruments placed from left to right in order of increasing size. The string tone is as good as it gets on conventional discs.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y240629)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Hoffmann, G.: Mandolin Quartets (4 for mandolin, violin, viola & cello); Maddaluno/Marano/Traverso/Parfitt [Brilliant]
The mandolin was a very popular instrument in Europe during the late-18th through early-19th century, and consequently many composers wrote for it. This recent Brilliant Classics release treats us to four selections that were seemingly often played at salon gatherings in Vienna.

They're all by composer-mandolinist Giovanni Hoffmann, about whom very little is known. Apparently, he was born sometime around 1770 and lived in that city, where he wrote an extensive number of pieces for his instrument. However, no complete listing of them is available, nor is it known when or where he died.

The selections here each have four movements, and the program begins with his Quartet in G. This gets off to an "Allegro moderato (Moderately fast)" start [T-1] with a spirited theme [00:00] adjoining a complementary countermelody [00:12]. Then the foregoing is repeated [00:51] and explored [01:41], thereby ending the movement definitively.

An "Adagio non molto (Slow and expressive)" second one [T-2] features a couple of delicate, opening ideas [00:00, 00:54] that sound related. These are the subject of a gentle serenade [01:21], which comes to a tranquil conclusion.

Then Giovanni serves up a charming "Minueto (Minuet)" [T-3] with proud outer sections [00:00, 01:45] based on a stately, opening thought. They bracket a delightful trio [00:52-01:44] having a related idea, and end things as they began.

After that, there's a lively "Rondo" [T-4] with a restless recurring ditty [00:00, 01:08, 02:27]. It alternates with a couple of complementary, playful sections [00:41, 01:48] and closes the work amicably.

The following Quartet in D begins with an "Allegro (Fast)", rondo-like movement [T-5], featuring an initial, playful, recurrent thought [00:00, 00:16, 00:54]. This momentarily gives way to a more pensive one [01:47-02:18], but returns [02:19] to end things full circle.

Then we get a "Romanze (Romance)" [T-6] based on a winsome opening melody [00:00]. It's an amorous offering that conjures up images of some troubadour with mandolin in hand serenading his ladylove.

Subsequently, it's time for another "Minueto (Minuet)" [T-7]. The one here has courtly outer sections [00:00, 01:39] featuring a regal number. They lie on either side of a somewhat flighty trio [00:49-01:38], and end things like they began.

Then there's a ternary, A-B-A-structured, rollicking "Rondo" [T-8]. Here dapper "A"s [00:00, 01:53] based on a saucy opening tune, hug a related "B" [01:14-01:52], and close things full circle.

The Quartet in A has an "Allegro (Fast)", first movement [T-9] with a sportive opening idea [00:00] that's repeated [00:39]. Then this undergoes a sequence imbued treatment [01:17], which adjoins a melodic segment [02:02] that ends the movement pleasingly.

It's followed by an "Adagio (Slow)" one [T-10] with a reserved initial thought [00:01]. This is the subject of a plaintive serenade having a somewhat downcast conclusion.

But gloom turns to glee in the next "Minueto (Minuet)" [T-11]. It has merry outer sections [00:00, 01:37] based on a lively number. These hug a tuneful trio [00:45-01:36], and end things like they started.

All this sets the pace for the final "Rondo" [T-12], which sports a rollicking, recurrent theme [00:00, 01:09, 02:38]. It surrounds a couple of more complacent, related segments [01:31, 02:11], and closes the work smilingly.

The Quartet in F has an "Allegro molto (Very fast)" first movement [T-13] that begins with a capricious thought [00:00], which is repeated [00:48]. This is food for fetching [01:36] as well as confident [02:25] treatments, which end the movement complacently.

An "Adagio (Slow)" one is next [T-14]. It has an initial, tender, mandolin-embroidered idea [00:00] that's examined [00:57]. Then this is repeated [01:35] and adjoins a more impassioned segment [03:26] that comes to an uneventful conclusion.

As in the foregoing quartets, a "Minueto (Minuet)" follows [T-15]. The one here has frolicsome outer sections [00:00, 01:45] based on a lively, opening notion. They enfold a charming trio [00:49-01:44] featuring a couple of more assured, related thoughts, and close things full circle.

After that, it's "Rondo" time again [T-16], this one being of sonata-rondo persuasion. It has a perky, recurring tune that's heard at the outset [00:00, 00:12] and succeeded by a complementary countersubject [00:23]. Then all of the foregoing is repeated [01:01], developed [01:25], and a recap of the first idea [02:24] brings the work as well as this disc to a droll denouement.

These performances are by four Italian musicians, namely mandolinist Federico Maddaluno (b. 1999), violinist Alberto Marano (b. 2003), violist Myriam Traverso (b. ????) and cellist Alessandro Parfitt (b. ????). They deliver technically accomplished, convincing accounts of all four selections, thereby making a strong case for this little-known composer's music.

The recordings were made during February through April of 2023 at the 'Splash Recording Studio' in Naples, Italy. They present a compact sonic image with the mandolin, violin, viola and cello respectively positioned from left to right. Each of these instruments is well captured; however, this music would have sounded even better in more spacious surroundings.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, P240628)


The album cover may not always appear.
Viola Concertos (see Bach, C.P.E. & Graun, J.G.); Rochat/Waartz/Theus/Griffiths/CamSchweiz [CPO]
Here's an enjoyable CPO release featuring Swiss-French violist Mathis Rochat (b. 1994). He gives us three concertos by two early classical period, German composers, the first being Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (aka C.P.E. Bach, 1714-1788).

Born in Weimar, Germany, some 50 miles southwest of Leipzig, he was the fifth of Johann Sebastian's (1685-1750) twenty children. Incidentally, four of his sons wrote music, but C.P.E. was arguably the most accomplished of them, and left a large oeuvre across all genres.

What we have here is Rochat's arrangement for viola of C.P.E.'s Cello Concerto in B-flat major (H.436, Wq.171; 1751), and the first of its three movements is an "Allegretto (Lively)" one [T-1]. This gets off to a spirited start with the orchestra playing a jaunty theme [00:01]. It's then picked up by the soloist [00:55], and all of the foregoing repeated [02:19].

After that, this material undergoes a developmental exploration [03:00] having virtuosic viola spicing. Then the tutti return [07:10] with the opening idea, thereby ending the movement tranquilly with a sighing cadence [07:51].

The following "Adagio (Slow)" one [T-2] is a melancholy serenade based on an initial, weeping thought for the orchestra [00:00]. The latter is then played by the soloist [01:16] and becomes the subject of increasingly engaging, exploratory passages [03:27]. These call up a wistful cadenza [05:22] followed by sportive tutti moments [06:08] that close things rather matter-of-factly.

Then there's a delightful, "Allegro assai (Very fast)" last movement [T-3]. This begins with a capricious thematic nexus for the orchestra [00:00], and a related, lyrical idea sung by the viola [01:00]. Subsequently, we get an antsy section [02:19] with a couple of pensive moments for the soloist [02:47, 02:55, 04:07]. Then the foregoing is recapped [04:33] with some viola fireworks [05:00], and the concerto comes to a businesslike conclusion.

The two remaining selections are by composer-violinist Johann Gottlieb Graun (1703-1771), who was born in Uebigau-Wahrenbrück, Germany, some 50 miles east-northeast of Leipzig. He studied violin as well as composition with Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755), and then continued his academic pursuits at Leipzig University.

But the year 1723 saw him move to Prague, where he studied with Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770). Then in 1726 Graun began a highly successful musical career, which finally took him to Berlin, where he participated in the musical activities associated with Frederick the Great's (1712-1786) court. Johann would live out his years there and leave a significant body of works.

First we get Graun's three-movement, Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in C minor (Graun WV A:XIII:3), which was probably written around 1750. Its initial "Allegro con spirito (Fast with spirit)" one [T-4] has a lively orchestral opening [00:00] hinting at a delightful theme that's soon played by the viola [00:57] and picked up by the violin [01:15].

Then the foregoing material is explored [01:40], giving way to a captivating development [03:05] with bravura moments for both soloists. These are followed by memories of the opening measures [05:41], where the violin and viola chase each other about, thereby giving rise to a cadenza for both [07:26]. This is succeeded by a reminder of the opening measures [08:15] that ends things succinctly

The next "Adagio con sordini (Slow with mutes)" movement [T-5] is a subdued serenade based on a somewhat wistful idea first heard in the orchestra [00:00]. Subsequently, the soloists play it in lovely passages [01:23] having tutti accents [02:13, 03:59, 04:52, 04:58]. After that, a crestfallen violin-viola cadenza [05:37-06:01] is succeeded by somewhat more sanguine afterthoughts for all. These bring the movement to a tranquil conclusion.

Subsequently, there's a playful, 'Allegro assai (Very fast)", perpetuum mobile one [T-6]. This gets off to lively start with the orchestra playing a delightfully flighty, recurring theme [00:00]. It's seconded by the soloists in a couple of thrilling episodes [00:45, 02:51] that initiate a cadenza-like one [03:25]. Here they get to "show their stuff", and then the viola initiates a whimsical postscript [06:10] that ends the work rather briskly.

No information was readily available on the other Graun selection, namely his Concerto for Viola, Strings and b.c. in E-flat major. To make things even more confusing, the album notes give it the same catalog number as the preceding piece.

Be that as it may, this is another three-movement work, and the "Allegro (Fast)" opening one [T-7] begins with a pleasing theme for the tutti [00:00], which is soon sung by the soloist [00:51]. Then the foregoing is reiterated [01:41], thereby introducing a developmental discussion for viola and orchestra [02:49].

The latter has virtuosic moments for the soloist [03:31]. and then there's a recap for all [04:39]. Here we get increasingly bravura passages that bridge into a lively viola cadenza [06:00-06:24]. It's followed by ancillary tutti titbits [06:25] that end the movement uneventfully.

The middle "Adagio und poco andante (Slow and somewhat ambulatory)" one [T-8] is a melancholy utterance where the orchestra initially intones a somewhat sad thought [00:00]. This is picked up by the soloist [01:02], toyed with [01:59], and a mellow coda for all [04:21] brings things to a subdued ending.

Then we get an "Allegro assai (Very fast)" last movement [T-9]. It's a resilient, rondo-like caper that begins with a fleet, recurring theme for the tutti [00:00]. This is soon espoused by the viola [00:55], and tossed back and forth between soloist and orchestra in fleet passages [02:43, 04:32]. These close the work as well as this release in rather mercurial fashion.

Violist Mathis Rochat (see above) and the Camerata Schweiz (Camerata Switzerland) under Swiss-resident, British-conductor Howard Griffiths (b. 1950) deliver superb performances of all three selections. What's more, Dutch-American violinist Stephen Waarts (b. 1996) deserves a big hand for his superb playing in the first Graun work [T-4 thru 6]. Also, cellist Christine Theus (no background information available) gets credit for her continuo support in the concluding one [T-7 thru 9].

The recordings took place 7-9 July 2022 at the Oberstrass Church located in Zürich, Switzerland. They present a generous sonic image in superb surroundings that enrich this music. Both soloists are centered, well captured, and ideally highlighted against the orchestra. Their string tone as well as the overall orchestral timbre is about as good as it gets on conventional discs.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y240627)