Johann Sobeck: 3 Wind Quintets
Some of the most pleasing music comes to us in the form of chamber music. Music that was meant to be heard in smaller more personal groups and didn't require the use of huge concert halls. This music would require a good sized parlor, but it would be played for the enjoyment of the musical form itself. Mostly a relaxing entertainment and only needed four to eight people to play depending on the format. This is where you get to the heart and soul of the composer, you see, or hear, the inner self.
Johann (Jan) Sobeck (1831-1914) a Czech composer and clarinetist, isn't a name that comes to the forefront when you think of classical music, but he played the Variations Op.8 by Heinrich Joseph Baermann (1784-1847) the famous clarinetist virtuoso of the day, and studied under Karl Baermann (1810-1885), Heinrich's son was a composer and a clarinetist and basset-horn player from Munich. The elder Baermann was the clarinetist that both Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (1786-1826) and Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847) both admired for the sound of his clarinet along with Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864). The younger Baermann developed the Baermann-Ottensteiner key system for the clarinet, which was based on the existing Muller system. So, it would fit, why the clarinet plays top billing in these Wind Quintets. Most of Sobeck's works are in the Prague Conservatory Library, as with many composers, placed their music. Waiting for the day when someone will "discover" them and bring them to the listening public.
The Wind Quintet gives the music a better more rounded appeal than the String Quartet and Sobeck's music follows a format set by Anton Reicha, Franz Danzi, C. Cambini, and Rosetti, there, however, the comparisons and similarities stop as Sobeck's music is original in every respect and adds a lively spirited counterpoint and joyful playful interplay between all of the instruments, though largely led by the clarinet. Sobeck's Quintets are of a more refined sound, relaxing, balanced, and an aural treat. There are no bombastic pyrotechnics like octave jumping or semi-quavers in the clarinet, but nevertheless, it is challenging in its lightning fast transfers of the musical theme or repartee between the musical instrumentation. I found this music to be of a captivating nature, with a beautiful seductive interplay, a fine, carefree rapture.
Three Wind Quintets: for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon Total Time 60:40
Quintet Op.9 in F major 4 movements 19:22 finished in 1849
1. Quasi Presto 8:10
2. Adagio cantabile 4:25
3. Scherzo. Molto vivace 2:31
4. Allegro molto 4:16
Quintet Op. 14 in G minor 4 movements 20:27 finished in 1891
1. Allegro mosso 7:39
2. Andante piu tosto. Adagio 5:53
3. (attacca) Scherzino. Presto 2:35
4. Tarantella. Vivo 5:02
Quintet Op. 11 in E flat major 4 movements 20:04 finished in 1892
1. Andante sostenuto - Allegro vivace 6:20
2. Andante sostenuto 4:35
3. Allegretto giojoso e leggiere 4:34
4. Larghetto - Quasi Allegro 4:55
* absent from this recording is the fourth Wind Quintet in B flat Op.23 finished in 1897
Albert Schweitzer Quintet:
Angela Firkins, Flute
Christiane Dimigen, Oboe
Diemut Schneider, Clarinet
Silke Schurack, Horn
Eckart Hubner, Bassoon
This CD has a SPARS Code: DDD, the recording and brings a strong clear sound to the listener. It was recorded on January 17-19,2005 at the Hans Rosbaud Studio Baden-Baden. I played this CD on a Blu-ray and I got very good spatial separation and natural tonal qualities on all of the instruments with precise depth gradation and very good dynamics. For those who want clear concise sound you'll be pleased with this disc, for those who like wind chamber music you'll be hard pressed to get a better CD than this. The Albert Schweitzer Quintet is a world class musical group that expresses artistic interpretation to this music. A very well done performance.
Sobeck wrote a Duo Concertant for Clarinet and Horn on the Themes of Mozart's 'Don Giovanni' Op.5 which I found very interesting. Doing an internet search you should find it. Also, there is a recording with Dieter Klocker of Johann Sobeck's Concerto in B major after Beethoven's Concerto for Violin WoO 5. There is a Vocal, Clarinet, and Piano, Op.18 with Meine Heimat. We are living in a time where more classical music is being found from the archives and is being brought forth on various recording labels. Music that either has been neglected or ignored, but is slowly making its way to the listening public. Johann Sobeck's music is worthy of a listen.