31 AUGUST 2023


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.
Flury, R.: Orchestral Music V3 (Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 4 "Liechtensteinische"); Mann/BBC SO [Toccata]
Somehow Toccata's previous installment of this little-known, but distinguished composer's orchestral music (TOCC-0601) slipped under the CLOFO radar! However, here's the third one, and first a few words regarding his background.

Richard Flury (1896-1967) was born in Biberist, Switzerland, some fifty air miles west-southwest of Zürich, and came from a musical family. His early schooling was in Solothurn just a couple of miles north-northwest of his hometown.

He then spent about four years studying music at institutions located in Bern, Basel and Geneva, Switzerland, one of his instructors being Felix Weingartner (1863-1942). After that, Flury journeyed to Vienna for composition courses with Joseph Marx (1882-1964; see 31 July 2019).

Richard subsequently returned home to teach violin at schools in Solothurn as well as Grisons. He also frequently conducted orchestras in Solothurn, Zürich and Gerlafingen. What's more, Flury occasionally guest conducted concerts in Bern and Basel, as well as on radio stations broadcasting from Zürich and Lugano.

He was one of his country's most prolific composers and would die in Biberist (see above), leaving a large body of works across all genres. Stylistically speaking, although he was born in the early 1920s, his music is of late-romantic disposition. That holds for his five numbered symphonies, the first and fourth of which fill out this release, these being the only readily available version of them currently on disc. Incidentally, the album notes discuss them in considerable detail, so we'll only cover their high points.

Flury indicated his Symphony No. 1 in D minor (1922-23) underwent a difficult genesis, where he had to spend considerable time correcting mistakes in the orchestral parts made by an amateur copyist. However, he finally managed to conduct a well-received premiere of the full work in March 1924. As for the version done here, all four of its movements have been newly edited to eliminate numerous errors that were still present.

The sonata-form-like, "Allegro molto (Very fast)" first [T-1] has an exposition, which starts with a montane, thematic nexus (M1) [00:01] that considering the composer's home country, conjures up images of the Swiss Alps. Then M1 ebbs into a lovely countermelody (L2) [02:17], and the foregoing material undergoes an alluring exploration [03:14].

The latter has some subdued, "Idylle (Sylvan)" marked moments [04:47], after which M1 initiates captivating developmental passages [05:08]. These are followed by a glorious recapitulation [07:33] with an M1-based coda [12:11] that ends the movement dramatically.

Then an "Andante con moto (Slow with movement)" second [T-2] begins somewhat like its predecessor, but with a long sinuous theme (LS) for the cellos [00:07]. LS is the main idea for a deeply felt, fervent contemplation, which soon has a reminder of M1 [02:33]. Curiously enough, there's a mien about all this, which may remind you of "Venus" in Gustav Holst's (1874-1934) The Planets (H. 125, Op. 32; 1914-1917).

To quote the album notes, "... an important part of Flury's heart belonged to Viennese light music ...", and that certainly holds true for the next "Allegro molto (Very fast)" Scherzo [T-3]. Here waltz-like outer sections [00:00 & 03:34] bracket a ländleresque trio [02:17-03:33] and bring things full circle.

The Allegro (Fast) Finale [T-4] opens with an antsy ditty (AD) [00:00] hinting at an adjoining, brass-intoned, M1-cloned, chorale-like theme (MC) [00:27]. Then the two are bandied about in rondo fashion. However, MC becomes increasingly dominant and powers some stretto passages [04:40]. These call up an M1-based episode with pounding timpani [06:23] that ends the work triumphantly.

Dating from almost thirty years later, we next get Flury's Symphony No. 4 "Liechtensteinische" in C major (1950-51), but first a few words about the subtitle. It refers to the Principality of Liechtenstein that's one of the world's smallest countries, and lies in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria (see map).

As a high school student, Richard vacationed there and was very much taken with the beautiful landscapes. Hence it was the inspiration for this work, which he dedicated to Liechtenstein-born composer, Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901), as well as the country's then reigning monarch, Prince Franz Joseph II (1906-1989).

Having four symphonic-poem-like movements, the "Allegro (Fast)" first [T-5] is a scenic-tone-painting that begins with a lovely, relaxed episode (LR) [00:00]. LR waxes and wanes into more vivacious, venatic passages (VV) [03:47], where it would seem hunters emerge from one of this country's imposing forests. Then the music ebbs into memories of LR [05:37], which give way to more VV thoughts [07:31]. These invoke a nostalgic version of LR [09:07] that closes the movement quietly.

After that, an "Andante (Slow)" second [T-6] ostensibly limns a lovely day with gentle breezes in one of the area's lush valleys. Then there are suggestions of increasing winds [07:11], distant thunder [07:31] and streaks of lightening [08:06], all of which come to a suspenseful, quiet ending. But not for long, as it's easy to imagine a storm breaking out with the following, "Prestissimo (Very quick)" Scherzo [T-7]. Here tempestuous, outer sections [00:00 & 05:52] surround a sunny, lied-like trio [02:25-05:51].

Last but not least, the Allegro (Fast) Finale [T-8] is ostensibly another scenic-tone-painting. However, this time around the music is even more Alpine oriented as it opens with a majestic episode [00:00] having tuneful moments. All this is material for some captivating treatments, the last of which is a stretto [09:47] that concludes the work and disc in soaring fashion.

British conductor Paul Mann (b. 1965) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (BBC SO) make a strong case for these Swiss symphonic rarities. Hearing them, one can only hope Toccata and Maestro Mann will continue their exploration of this composer's music.

These recordings were made 11-22 January 2022 at the BBC's spacious Maida Vale MV1 Studio in London, and because of COVID-19, the orchestra members were "socially-distanced" from each other as shown on this CD's inside back cover photo. However, careful microphone placement plus skillful mixing deliver a coherent, well balanced sonic image in pleasant surroundings that's all the more impressive for Flury's accomplished scoring. More specifically, the overall orchestral timbre is characterized by bright highs, lifelike mids and clean bass.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, P230831)

- AVAILABILITY - Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Hart, Edward: Under an Indigo Sky, A Charleston Concerto; Bekker/Harlem Quartet/Lam/Charleston SO [Navona]
By way of background, Edward Hart (b. 1965) was born in Charleston, this being the one in South Carolina (SC). He was a music composition major at the College of Charleston (CofC) and subsequently went on to get his masters' degree as well as a doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Then in 1993, Hart joined the CofC's faculty, where he chairs the Department of Music and is dean of its School of Arts.

He's since become an important figure in the cultural life of his native state. That said, the year 2019 saw him appointed composer in residence for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO), which is featured here. As a composer he's written a number of works across several genres. This recent Navona Records release gives us two colorfully scored ones in the concerto category. They're the only readily available versions currently on disc, and the second selection is a world premiere recording.

The program opens with Under an Indigo Sky (2011), which is a violin concerto, and to quote the composer, "a love letter to my geographical home, the American Southeast". This takes the form of a tone-poem-like travelogue, where the first of its three movements, subtitled "Fast-Flowing Rivers" [T-1] conjures up images of the area's inland waterways.

It begins with a shimmering orchestral preface [00:01] and busy episode (BE) [00:24], where the violin seemingly plays the part of an onlooker. Then there are some timpani-laced moments [01:50], followed by a lovely, flowing tune for the soloist (FT) [02:08]. This gives way to some fancy fiddling [2:20], an FT-based lyrical segment [03:45], and a highly demanding, extended violin cadenza [05:54]. Then reminiscences of BE [09:25] bring things to a sudden conclusion.

The following "Warm Salt Air" [T-2] paints a soothing musical portrait of SC's coast. Here the soloist is a caressing breeze through those Sabal Palmetto trees that lie along it. Then the movement concludes [14:33] with what could be a lovely evening sunset over a gentle orchestral sea.

Subsequently, the composer moves inland with "Misty Blue Horizon" [T-3], which honors the Blue Ridge Mountains along the northwestern tip of SC. This begins with chime-laced passages [00:00] featuring a stately, inspiring melody (SI) [00:20] that invokes thoughts of rolling, azure hills. Then there's a lyrical segment where the violin seemingly explores an orchestral countryside with flashes of morning sunlight.

All of the foregoing wanes into a reverent episode [04:35] with pious moments. However, these suddenly give way to vivacious ones [07:52] having some fiddle fireworks. The latter then elicit robust reminiscences of SI [08:50], which end the work with a feeling of veneration for these natural wonders.

The closing selection, A Charleston Concerto (2020), was written to commemorate the 350th anniversary of that city's founding in 1670. Scored for string quartet and orchestra, it's in three movements, which are each programmatic representation of aspects related to Charleston's past, present and future.

Things get underway with "Discovery" [T-4]. This celebrates the feeling of awe that the first people to discover Charleston Harbor must have had. Here, seemingly the orchestra represents the area, while the quartet plays the part of those discoverers.

Be that as it may, this gets off to an exhilarating start [00:00]. Then there's a contemplative section [03:31], followed by spirited passages [07:14]. These give the quartet a workout and wane into some wistful afterthoughts [11:13] that end the movement tranquilly.

In the next one labelled "Tragedy and Reconciliation" [T-5], Hart has borrowed three tunes from Gullah spirituals (see the album notes). It begins with ominous passages [00:00] having sorrowful quartet moments [02:22, 03:09 & 04:21]. They collectively depict all those past hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and diseases that have hit this area.

However, the foregoing bridge [beginning at 05:11] into conciliatory moments [07:16] that suddenly turn quite jolly [08:31]. But then the latter just quit, only to be followed by a quartet-initiated, nostalgic postscript [09:28]. This concludes with ethereal passages [10:56] and a decisive thump [12:01].

The final "Tomorrow" movement [T-6] expresses that optimism, which the composer feels the people of Charleston have for the future. It begins mystically [00:00] and turns sanguine [00:49] with a jubilant segment featuring the quartet [01:40]. This has colorfully scored passages adjoining blithe ones for the four soloists [06:44] that turn into a blissful episode [08:21]. Then an increasingly energetic, percussively-spiked, orchestral paean [09:56] brings the work and disc to an exultant, expeditious ending.

Both performances are by the CSO under conductor Ken Lam, who was its music director when they took place. As for the soloists, CSO Concertmaster, Yuriy Bekker (b. 1981) delivers a superb account of the first selection. Then each of the renowned Harlem Quartet's four members (1st violinist Ilmar Gavilán, 2nd violinist Melissa White, violist Jaime Amador, cellist Felix Umansky) play up a storm in the second. All these outstanding musicians make a strong case for Hart's music.

The recordings took place 27-28 September 2019 [T-1 thru 3] and 15-16 April 2022 [T-4 thru 6] in Charleston's Gaillard Center Performance Hall. They present consistently generous sonic images in a superb venue. Bekker's violin is centered, while the quartet musicians' instruments are generously spaced from left to right in order of increasing size.

All of the soloists are well captured and highlighted against the CSO. The instrumental timbre is characterized by excellent highs and mids, as well as clean, transient lows. Edward's articulate, percussively-spiced scoring makes for a real listening treat.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y230830)


The album cover may not always appear.
Respighi, O.: Gli uccelli, Antiche danze ed arie per liuto (Suites 1-3); Neschling/OPRL [BIS (Hybrid)]
This BIS hybrid, CD(2)/SACD(2/5.1) release has superb accounts of two very popular pieces by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936). He left a large oeuvre across all genres, and the orchestral ones here find him putting some "old wine in new bottles".

The program opens with Gli uccelli (The Birds; P154, 1928). This is a five-movement Suite (P 154; 1928) for small orchestra that's a musical aviary drawn from 17-18th century pieces.

Its catchy, opening "Preludio (Prelude)" [T-1] is based on a harpsichord work by Ottorino's fellow countryman, Bernardo Pasquini (1637-1710) and has hints of some fine-feathered-friends soon to follow.

Then there's a wistful "La colomba (The Dove)" [T-2] based on a lute number by French composer, Jacques de Gallot (1625-1695). This is followed by a busy "La gallina (The Hen)" [T-3] borrowed from Frenchman Jean-Phillipe Rameau's (1683-1764) "peckish" harpsichord piece.

After that, there's "L'usignuolo (The Nightingale)" [T-4], which features a tune for an eponymous English ballad. However, Respighi turns it into music that smacks of Richard Wagner (1813-1883), and more specifically, those "Forest Murmurs" from his opera Siegfried (1852-71).

Bernardo Pasquini (1637-1710) again figures in the concluding "Il cucù (The Cuckoo)" [T-5], which is based on his Toccata con lo Scherzo del Cucco for harpsichord (1702). It brings this delightful work full circle with a coda [03:58] recalling the opening measures.

The other selection titled Antiche danze ed arie per liuto (Ancient Dances and Airs for the Lute) is a set of three, four-movement orchestral suites -- see the informative album notes for their scoring. They're drawn from 16-18th century Italian as well as French lute pieces prepared and published by Italian musicologist Oscar Chilesotti (1848-1916) back in the 1890s.

Suite No. 1 (P109, 1917) starts with "Balletto" [T-6], which is taken from Italian composer Simone Molinaro's (c. 1570-1636) Ballo detto il Conte Orlando (1599). After that there's "Gagliarda" [T-7] based on Vincenzo Galilei's (1520-1591) eponymous piece (1550s). And incidentally, he was the father of that great Italian astronomer Galileo (1564-1642).

Then we get a songful "Villanella" [T-8] drawn from an anonymous number that had Spanish roots and appeared in Naples around 1600. It's followed by a concluding Passo mezzo e Mascherada [T-9], which is a reworking of another anonymous number dating from around 1600. Here sprightly Passo mezzo [00:00] passages alternate with villanella-like Mascherada ones [01:37 & 02:58] and close things playfully.

Suite No. 2 (P138, 1923) opens with "Laura Soave: balletto con gagliarda, saltarello e canario" [T-10]. This is based on a ballet titled Laura Soave by Italian composer Fabritio Caroso (1526~1620) and consists of three dances, the first being a gallant galliard [00:01]. It's succeeded by a spunky saltarello [01:23] adjoining a contrary canary [02:08] and returns [02:55] to end things full circle.

Subsequently, it's off to the country for a "Danza rustica" [T-11], which is a reworking of French composer Jean-Baptiste Besard's (c.1567-c.1625) eponymous dance (c.1600). And after that there's a somewhat subdued "Campanae parisienses" [T-12]. It has tintinnabular outer sections [00:01 & 03:51] based on a lute piece called "Cloches (Bells)" possibly by Jacques Gaultier (c.1600-c.1660). They frame an Aria [01:34-03:50] attributed to French polymath Marin Mersenne (1588-1648).

Then the last "Bergamasca" [T-13] is a playful offering recalling Italian composer Bernardo Gianoncelli's (early 1600s) eponymous piece (c.1650). It conjures up images of peasants merrily dancing about and brings the suite to a rousing conclusion.

Suite No. 3 (P172, 1931) is just for strings and a bit more austere than its predecessors. That said, the initial "Italiana" [T-14] is based on an anonymous, melancholy song that was popular around 1600. Then the following "Arie di corte (Court Airs)" [T-15] draws on six melodies by our old friend from above, Jean-Baptiste Besard (c.1567-c.1625).

More specifically, here we get a songful "C'est malheur" [00:02 & 06:26] that brackets five others. These are a lively "Adieu, bergère" [02:15], spirited "Beaux yeux" [02:43], slow-expressive "Là voilà la nacelle d'amour" [03:29], fast-spirited "Quelle divinité" [05:23] and an extremely-lively "Si c'est pour mon pucelage" [05:39].

Then there's a lovely, delicate "Siciliana" [T-16] drawn from a tune [00:02] that probably originated in Sicily sometime around 1600. It's followed by a "Passacaglia" [T-17], which is a reworking of Italian composer Lodovico Roncalli's (1654-1713) eponymous (piece) from his Capricci armonici sopra la chitarra spagnola (Harmonic caprices for the Spanish guitar) of 1692. It brings this work and release to a dramatic conclusion.

These performances are by the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège (OPRL), based 60 miles east-southeast of Brussels. Under Brazilian-born conductor John Neschling (b. 1947), the ORPL delivers captivating accounts of these Respighi favorites.

The recordings were done 5-9 July 2021 at the Salle Philharmonique in Liège. Each of the stereo tracks present consistently generous sonic images, and the multichannel one will give those with home theater systems an ideal orchestra seat. But no matter how you play it, the instrumental timbre is characterized by pleasant highs, a rich midrange and clean bass, thereby earning this release an "Audiophile" rating.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y230829)


The album cover may not always appear.
Winterberg; Chamber Music V2 (String Quartets Nos. 2-4); Amernet Qt [Toccata]
Last year Capriccio released some of Prague-born composer Hans Winterberg's (1901-1991) orchestral works (see 31 October 2022). Now the Toccata label follows their first volume devoted to his chamber music (TOCC 0491) with this second one.

The superb album notes by "Forbidden Music" author Michael Haas (b. 1954) have a captivating description of the composer's complicated life as well as detailed musical analyses of the selections on this disc. Consequently, we'll just hit their high points, and begin by saying that stylistically they follow in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Leoš Janáček (1854-1928), Pavel Haas (1899-1944) and Hans Krása (1899-1944).

Winterberg wrote four string quartets (1936-61), the last three of which fill out this release, all being first recordings. Strangely enough, it would probably also have included his first one, however the score for that couldn't be found in time for these sessions.

Like both of its later companions, the String Quartet No. 2 (1942) is in three movements. The unmarked first [T-1] is for the most part of melancholy disposition. Then an "Allegro energico (Fast and energetic)" coda [05:38] closes it with a ray of hope.

Subsequently, it's on to a "Molto tranquillo (Very tranquil)" one [T-2] that opens with a canon [00:00] based on a longing, folklike melody (LF) [00:00], which adjoins an LF-based passacaglia [02:02]. The latter has variations of LF, which transition into another folk ditty [03:35]. This sounds like a doleful version of the tune for a children's song called "Ring a Ring o' Roses", and is cause for a somber serenade [04:25] that ends the movement quietly.

The next marked "Tempo scherzando, poco moderato (Moderately swift)" [T-3] begins with searching passages [00:00] that suddenly turn into "Poco più tranquillo, quasi marcia funebre (More tranquil, like a funeral march)" ones [02:33]. Then the latter intensify and become somewhat like more distraught moments in Janáček's music. These bring the work to an unresolved conclusion, which leaves listeners with the feeling that it was never finished.

Almost twice as long as either of its companions, the String Quartet No. 3 (1957, rev. 1970) is the most significant one here. Its initial "Allegro moderato (Moderately fast)" movement [T-4] has a commanding introduction [00:00] immediately followed by a consummate, through-composed happening. This has conjoined sections of varying temperament that vary from flighty [00:43] to pensive [02:18], insistent [03:52], excited [07:36], contemplative [08:55] and vivacious [10:36]. Then a willful one [13:57] ends things with a saucy, strummed chord [14:37].

The bitonal-spiced middle movement is marked "Andante pastoral, molto moderato e misterioso (Slow pastoral, very moderate and mysterious)" [T-5]. It gets off to an enigmatic, canon-like start [00:01] with an underlying, melancholy idea [00:09]. The latter is the basis for sighing passages [02:50] and subsequent searching ones [04:40] with a morose, last thought [05:53].

Then there's a vehement, "Presto (Very fast)" concluding movement [T-6] with a haughty preface [00:00]. This has stabbing notes that invoke frenetic, martial passages [00:10], which may remind you of Dmitri Shostakovich's (1906-1975) busier moments. They surround an "Agitato (Excited)" section [03:25-05:04], and have a "Perpetuum mobile" coda [07:51]. The latter ends with a fortissimo, pizzicato thump [08:16] plus a lingering note that simply wanes away, thereby bringing the work to a dying conclusion.

The String Quartet No. 4 (1961) has a "Mässig schnell (Moderately fast)" opening movement [T-7] that begins with pizzicato-laced passages for the cello [00:00], over which the viola [00:27] as well as the second [00:33] and first [00:38] violins spin out a bizarre, bitonal theme. All this is subject matter for several variational treatments that range from plaintive [01:19] to sprightly [02:41], nonchalant [03:57] and vivacious [06:35], where the last just suddenly quits.

Then there's an "Andantino (Leisurely)" Intermezzo [T-8]. Here it's easy to imagine a peaceful, nocturnal setting with what sound like cuckoo calls [00:12, 02:25 & 02:45] -- maybe the one in Respighi's Gli uccelli (see above) decided to nest here! But all kidding aside, this is a mesmerizing movement.

The "Ziemliche schnell (Rather fast)" last one [T-9] is of late-romantic temperament. It begins with twitchy, tension-building passages [00:00], overlaid with a couple of songful melodies [beginning at 00:24]. Then things become increasingly troubled [02:16], thereby invoking a "Presto (Very fast)" episode [05:12]. This has a spunky coda [05:36] that ends the work and disc dramatically.

These performances are by the Amernet String Quartet (ASQ) made up of violinists Misha Vitenson and Avi Nagin along with violist Michael Klotz plus cellist Jason Calloway. It's currently the Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University (FIU) located in Miami.

The award-winning, highly acclaimed ASQ travels worldwide and is a strong advocate of neglected works from the past such as those here. In that regard, they deliver superb accounts of these Winterberg rarities, and maybe they'll soon give us a recording of his First Quartet.

Made 26-28 October 2022, these recordings took place at the Jeffrey Haskell Recording Studio of the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona in Tucson. They present a generous sonic image with the instruments placed from left to right in order of increasing size. There's no feeling of that confinement frequently felt with venues of this type, and the string tone is as good as it gets on conventional discs.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y230828)

Amazon Records International

The album cover may not always appear.
Wranitzky, Paul: Orch Wks V5 (Das listige Bauernmädchen, Vorstellungen, Quodlibet-Contra…); Štilec/CzPard ChPO [Naxos]
Here Naxos gives us another release of Paul Wranitzky's (1756-1808) music in their splendid, ongoing survey of his orchestral fare (see 30 September 2022). He was one of Empress Maria Teresa's (1772-1807) favorite composers, and she probably requested the three ballet works on this disc for court celebrations. In that regard, the last two were associated with her husband, Emperor Francis II's (1768-1835) birthday in 1803.

All world premiere recordings, the program begins with Das listige Bauernmädchen (The Cunning Farmer Girl), which was probably written sometime between 1795 and 1805. Since the underlying story can be found in the album notes, we'll just make some general comments about the music. That said, the "Allegro (Fast)" marked Ouvertura (Overture) [T-1] is a folksy, rustic number. It's based on an opening tune (OT) [00:01], which sounds like something one might hear played on a Bock.

This is followed by twenty-one, delightful dances, the first four being quite animated [T-2 thru 5]. Then there's a lyrical one [T-6] with woodwinds over a mandolin accompaniment. It's succeeded by three march-tinged numbers [T-7 thru 9], the last having a couple of songful, cello segments [01:20 & 04:20].

Subsequently, Wranitzky serves up six spirited ones [T-10 thru 15], followed by a martial number [T-16] with initial trumpet calls [00:00]. This gives way to four jolly dances [T-17 thru 20]. Then a "Menuetto moderato (Moderate minuet)" [T-21] and an OT-derived, "Contradance" [T-22] bring the ballet to a convivial conclusion.

Next, there's the first of those 1803, birthday works (see above), which is titled Vorstellungen (Imaginations). It's a balletic divertissement that has a brief, austere introduction [T-23] with some oboe heehaws [00:24-00:43].

This sets the stage for six dances, the first of which [T-24] gets off to an "Allegro (Fast)", capricious start [00:00], soon followed by a regal "Menuetto (Minuet)" [02:36]. After that, there's a second one [T-25] with an "Andante (Slow)", pensive opening [00:00] that bridges into an "Allegro (Fast)", spirited segment [02:14]. Then we get a third, "Allegro non troppo (Fast, but not too quickly)" marked dance [T-26], which is an airy piece scored for woodwinds, mandolin and pizzicato violins.

Subsequently, Paul gives us an "Allegro (Fast)", martial fourth [T-27] with piccolo, drum and trumpet accents. Then a proud, "Marcia (March)" [T-28] followed by a flighty, "Tempo di minuetto (Minuet tempo)" [T-29] end this charming assortment of dances in subdued fashion.

The second of those 1803, birthday works (see above) was titled Quodlibet and contained a collection of ballet numbers. This release closes with just its lengthy, "Final Contradance" [T-30], which begins with a frisky number [00:00] that parents several different dances. They range from queasy [00:44] to coy [02:11], headstrong [03:41], flirtatious [04:30], valiant [05:25] and whimsical [07:23]. Then a triumphant one [07:57] brings it and this CD to a rousing conclusion.

These performances are by the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice (CCPOP), which is based some 60 miles east of Prague. Under their first principle conductor, Marek Štilec (b. 1985), the CCPOP delivers committed, enthusiastic accounts of some music that should have great appeal for all balletomanes. That said, cellist David Matoušek (b. 1977) gets a big hand for his superb playing in Das listige... [T-9].

These recordings were made during July 2020 at The House of Music in Pardubice and project a generous sonic image in affable surroundings. The orchestral timbre is characterized by pleasant highs, a rich midrange and clean lows. Consequently, the sound is as good as it gets on conventional CDs for Classical-period-sized orchestras like the one here.

-- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (, Y230827)

Amazon Records International