About this Recording
8.553410 - CAMBINI: Wind Quintets Nos. 1-3 / BRICCIALDI: Wind Quintet in D Major

Giuseppe Maria CAMBINI (1746 - 1825)

Giuseppe Maria CAMBINI (1746 - 1825)

Wind Quintets Nos. 1 - 3


Giulio BRICCIALDI (1818 - 1881)

Wind Quintet in D Major, Op. 124


Giuseppe Maria Cambini was born in Livorno in 1746 and won a reputation as a violinist, claiming to have played in quartets with Manfredi, Nardini and Boccherini. He is said to have worked in Naples, but facts about his career become more certain with his arrival in Paris in the 1770s. Here he proved a particularly prolific composer, with a very considerable number of instrumental works, including 149 string quartets and quintets for varied combinations of instruments running into the hundreds. These include three for wind quintet, written about 1802. His stage works, including opera and ballet, continued up to the Revolution, after which he turned his attention with equal facility to revolutionary hymns and odes, including a Ronde patriotique sur les crimes des anglais. He became known to Mozart during the latter's stay in Paris in 1778. Mozart, indeed, unfairly it seems, accused him of working with Legros to prevent the performance of the Sinfonia concertante he had written for the Mannheim wind-players then in Paris. Cambini himself had some experience of the sinfonia concertante and himself wrote some 84, of which only a third now survive. He died in 1825 or earlier and there is little certainty about his later life.


Cambini's wind quintets show his very considerable facility as a composer, with a gift for melody, a technical command of form and an ability to handle instruments idiomatically. The first of the set opens with an Allegro maestoso, followed by a Larghetto cantabile of some variety, and a final Rondo in which the bassoon eventually enjoys some prominence. Quintet No.2 in D minor follows a similar form. The first movement soon finds a place for lively material. The slow movement is gently lyrical and the final Presto makes a lively conclusion. The unison opening of the Quintet No.3 in F major leads to a movement in a similarly assured idiom, with elegant interplay between the instruments. The slow movement is a solemn lament that gradually increases in dramatic complexity. The final Rondo changes the mood, with its cheerful principal theme introducing the movement and returning between episodes that exploit the virtuosity of the performers.


The Italian flautist and composer Giulio Briccialdi was born at Termi in 1818 and had flute lessons from his father. After the latter's death he moved to Rome, avoiding family pressure to study for the priesthood and supporting himself by playing the flute in a theatre orchestra. In Rome he took lessons in composition and was by 1835 teaching the flute at the Academy of Santa Cecilia. The following year found him in Naples as flute teacher to the king's brother. His later career took him on concert tours throughout Europe. In London, where the firm of Rudall and Rose had the rights of Theodore Boehm's improved cylindrical flute, Briccialdi had a lower key added, extending the range to B flat. After this modification of 1849, Briccialdi made further changes in the flute, carried out for him in Florence, where he taught the flute at the Conservatory from 1870. He died in Florence in 1881.


It was natural that Briccialdi should make significant additions to the repertoire of the flute. His Wind Quintet, Opus 124, opens cheerfully with an oboe melody, in which the flute later shares, before an ensuing operatic exchange between the instruments that continues with the introduction of a secondary theme. The slow movement starts evocatively, the flute leading the way to an oboe melody, followed by moments of operatic drama and lyricism. A repeated bass note forms the background to the start of the final Allegro, with its varied interplay between the instruments of the quintet, and a dramatically slower passage that leads to the brilliant conclusion.


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