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MusicWeb International, April 2013

All the musicians featured here play with commendable verve and precision. Sound quality is good…Conductor/harpsichordist Franz Hauk’s notes are informative, well written and well translated. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Todd Gorman
American Record Guide, November 2012

[In] The Concerto in C for harpsichord…Franz Hauk gives a solid performance and conducts on the other pieces.

[In] The Trio Concertante for three violins and orchestra…The three soloists blend and phrase well, handling the classical writing a la Viotti smoothly.

The sound is crisp and clear… © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, September 2012

Natalie Schwaabe is a fine soloist, her silvered tones effortless and endearing; as for the orchestral playing it’s both spunky and spontaneous which makes for a delightful listen. Andrea Steinberg steals the show in the second movement. The disarming agility of her clarinet playing is well matched by the delicious burble from the band. She’s no less characterful on the basset horn, which features in the dark-hued third movement.

The poise and understated elegance of Hauk’s playing is a real joy, notably in the Andantino, and I must say that the recording is one of the most alluring I’ve heard from Naxos in a while.

Music of lilt and loveliness, winningly played; a joyful discovery. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

John Sheppard
MusicWeb International, August 2012

This disc…is…to be welcomed as providing a chance to hear two of [Mayr’s] late works and one from much earlier in his career.

The most interesting and enjoyable of the three is the Concerto Bergamasco of 1820…this is an entertaining work with much real musical invention. Given good clear recording and a fluent and idiomatic performance this is something likely to appeal both to opera enthusiasts wanting to know more about the composer and to anyone seeking to explore the byways of early nineteenth century instrumental music.

The other works are interesting too if not quite so striking. The Trio Concertante, also from around 1820, makes use of three solo violins, for much of the time individually rather than as a group. It is put together in a craftsman-like way …The Keyboard Concerto is played on the harpsichord and dates from around 1800…It makes pleasant listening and is convincingly played…

…the charms of the Concerto Bergamasco are considerable. You may well want this disc as it usefully fills in one of those gaps in the catalogue that you probably never knew were there. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Christie Grimstad, July 2012

…the focus of this CD turns attention to Mayr’s concertos. It is well worth the journey.

Mayr may have made the greatest trademark to his name by using carefully chosen instruments to evoke conspicuous response, several of which are highlighted here. Commonly referred as the Concerto bergamasco, this piece can be sequestered as being an educative tool in exemplifying variations on a theme. The opening movement features Natalie Schwaabe’s meticulous and mellifluous flute playing in the “Allegro” , followed by whiffs of whimsical magic via the clarinet, beautifully interpreted by Andrea Steinberg. Mayr brings into the fold solo sections centering around the basset horn, piccolo and pockets of complete orchestra; the instrument-specific figures once again convene in meaningful, logical conclusion during the “Tema con variazioni.” This seven sectioned event is brimming with marvelous coloring.

Franz Hauk wears two hats in the ensuing Keyboard Concerto in C major. One of the hats features his exquisite dexterity of scaled runs across the proverbial harpsichord. The composition has a carefree, fluttering dialogue vis-a-vis this keyboard centerpiece and a tutti orchestra.

The Trio Concertante in A minor permits three violins center stage as a complement to the Bavarian Classical Players. Featured violinists, Antonio Spiller, Yi Li and David van Dijk, apportion solo segments of the… piece, demonstrating their own virtuosic detail and artful sightings. Mayr’s uniquely tailored flourishes predominate in the “finale.”

Simon Mayr was a prolific composer of his time, yet, unfortunately, we don’t hear much about the pivotal gifts he brought to the classical world. The tables are slowly turning in rediscovering these unknown gems. This Naxos release is beautifully recorded, and it features an immeasurable, informative booklet written by Franz Hauk. © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2012

Known as the ‘father of Italian opera’, Simon Mayr wrote around seventy works in this genre, and for many years dominated music in Venice. Having been born in Bavaria in 1786, he was persuaded by a wealthy Swiss patron to go to Italy at the age of twenty-three where he was to spend much of his life. Though much immersed in theatre music, he was also a major composer for the church, eventually building a catalogue of more than fifteen hundred works. That portfolio also contained a number of symphonic works, the earliest we hear on this disc being the Keyboard Concerto from 1800, the harpsichord being the specified instrument. Though its date would place it the middle part of Beethoven’s life, it was, in every way, a product of the era dominated by Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and its infectious thematic material would certainly have graced Mozart’s own keyboard concertos. The cadenzas are by Mayr, though their virtuoso content seems to place them in a later period. The disc’s most extended work is the Concerto in D minor for flute, clarinet, basset horn, piccolo and orchestra, more readily remembered as the ‘Concerto bergamasco’. It introduces the solo instruments one at a time in the first three movements, coming together in the final theme and variations. That dates from 1820, and probably the same year as the Trio Concertante in A minor for three violins, a score where each play as soloists rather than as a group. The problem here is the similarity of sound produced by each, so that differentiation is at times difficult. It is, nevertheless, a highly pleasing experience, the soloists mainly drawn from the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, which also provides the musicians for the Bavarian Classical Players. Recommended without reservation. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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