Antonín Reicha and Sigismund Neukomm were contemporaries. Their time in Vienna, where both were students of Joseph Haydn, crossed from 1802–04, and from 1810 until the end of their lives both had their permanent residence in Paris. It is therefore easy to imagine that their paths crossed several times. In common was their striving to preserve the style of Viennese Classicism, fully expressed in the works presented here.
Antonín Reicha’s (1770–1836) Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet Op.89 is typical of his balanced, classical style. Overall, the work reflects Reicha's affinity with opera. The harmonic turns are subordinated to the clarity of the vocal melody and the specifications of the form; everything has its place and its good order. Yet, in spite of this seemingly rigid formula there are surprising moments, for example the long syncopated melodic line at the beginning of the development in the first movement. The clarinet responds to the brash overture-like beginning of the opening theme with lyrically contrasting vocal garlands, whose motives are immediately imitated by the strings; an artfully counterpointing exchange between the instruments unfolds.
What at first glance looks like the schematic application of well-learned compositional skill turns out on closer inspection (and repeated listening) to be a successful musical testimony to its time with many hidden and sophisticated ideas.
In Sigismund Neukomm’s (1778–1858) Clarinet Quintet Op.8, published in 1809, one can hear his desire to manifest admiration for his ‘three-leaf clover’ of influences: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. In its entirety, Neukomm's Clarinet Quintet radiates more noble elegance than original innovation, and one can well imagine that this expression corresponded perfectly to the composer’s own attitude to life.
- Recorded February 2016 in Prague, Czechia
- Bilingual booklet in English and German contains liner notes by Stephan Siegenthaler and profiles of the soloist and ensemble
- Antonín Reicha (1770-1836) and Sigismund Neukomm (1778-1858) were contemporaries. Their time in Vienna, where both were students of Joseph Haydn, crossed from 1802 - 1804. From 1810 until the end of their respective lives, both had their permanent residence in Paris. It is therefore easy to imagine that their paths had crossed several times. What they both have in common is their striving to preserve the style of Viennese Classicism, which is best expressed in the works presented here.
- Czech composer Antonín Reicha was mainly known for his standard music theory writings, yet lately his compositional output is rediscovered. His chamber music works receive their due recognition and contain some strikingly original feats.
- Neukomm first studied organ and later theory under Michael Haydn and Leopold Mozart, though his studies at his hometown Salzburg University were in philosophy and mathematics. He became honorary organist at the Salzburg University church in 1792, and was appointed chorus-master at the Salzburg court theater in 1796. Neukomm was kapellmeister at St. Petersburg's German theatre from 1804 to 1809, and from 1816 to 1821 he spent time in Brazil, South America, where he popularized the works of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Mozart.
- This new recording presents two Clarinet Quintets (Clarinet and string quartet) by Reicha and Neukomm, music in firm classical style, charming, witty and highly melodious.
- Stephan Siegenthaler is a leading clarinetist of Switzerland, whose vast repertoire covers several centuries, he gave world premieres of clarinet concertos and chamber music by leading contemporary composers and recorded many unknown works for his instrument.
- The Stamic Quartet is one of the best Czech string quartets, who recorded extensively, notably works by their compatriots Dvořák, Smetana, Janáček and Martinů.