on 26 February 2013
If remembered at all, the Bavarian composer Simon Mayr (1763-1845), is remembered as a composer of opera, nearly seventy in total! And while the music presented here has no real connection with opera, it certainly has an operatic feel!
The opening work the `Concerto bergamasco' is a strange concerto, it is composed in four movements with a different solo instrument in each of the first three movements, i, flute, ii, clarinet and iii, basset horn, whilst the in the fourth movement all three soloists join together, along with a piccolo player, and each gets the chance to shine, the amazing thing is that the notes tell us that the work was designed for one person who played all four instruments. It is a wonderful work, full of life and spontaneity; it is music which would not be out of place in any opera of the period.
The same could be said of the Keyboard Concerto in C, which although more conventional in outlook, you do get the feeling that the keyboard, a harpsichord in this recording, whilst not given any true cadenza, is the voice of the work!
The final work on this disc, the Trio Concertante for three Violins and Orchestra, is at just over twelve minutes the longest single track on the disc. The work again has an almost dramatic feel which wouldn't be out of place as an overture or orchestral interlude to an opera, its display of differing emotions in the short span is beautiful.
The playing of all the soloists, along with that of the orchestra is excellent, one couldn't wish for better, and all under the expert direction of Franz Hauk, who also proves himself a more than competent soloist in the keyboard concerto.
This is a wonderful disc, it is full of interesting and very attractive music, it should win Mayr some converts, me for one, as I certainly intend to investigate his some of his operas, and the good news is that you don't have to look far as Naxos have recorded a couple of them as well as a couple of his oratorios. Highly recommended!