Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Todd Gorman
American Record Guide, July 2011

…the playing is nuanced, with drama and playfulness. I found some moments breathtaking.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

MusicWeb International, February 2011

Franz Richter wrote two sets of six sonatas for the combinations of harpsichord, cello and then flute or violin. This is the set published slightly later; as this release is entitled ‘Volume 1’, it is a safe bet that at least the rest of this six will be forthcoming—also, we hope, the six of the earlier group. The date given above is the date of publication of a new, revised edition—the composition of the sonatas may or may not predate this by anything up to five years. In any case, however, the exact dates are rather immaterial, given Richter’s tendency to eschew the latest trends in music—the works here are still Baroque, with little sign of the coming Classical age.

In each of the three sonatas the flute and harpsichord are given fairly equal prominence. The flute part is far from virtuosic—as a conservative, Richter did not approve of virtuosity for its own sake—and the harpsichord in fact sometimes takes the lead, with extended passages of rich, occasionally even dense, music. The cello takes more of an accompaniment/continuo role, though it does have more material than is typical of high Baroque. The overall effect is of an expert, not to mention beautiful, blend of textures.

The three sonatas are fairly similar to each other structurally. They each have a long mid-tempo opening movement, a larghetto middle, and a five-and-a-half minute upbeat final movement. There is also an undeniable similarity of music—superficially at least, one sonata sounds much like another. Nevertheless, this is not superficial music—each sonata is packed with melody, invention and expression, with a style and feel reminiscent of early C.P.E. Bach.

The sound quality is reasonable, with an ideal balance between the three soloists—the harpsichord and flute set a little forward of the cello, as befitting their prominence—and with very little ‘respiratory noise’ from them. There is however the presence of an almost constant very deep hum to reckon with, presumably due to electrical interference somewhere during recording. However, it is only properly noticeable during the quietest moments, especially through headphones, and many ears may not even notice it.

The three Finnish soloists all play period instrument replicas. They have first-rate credentials and play with great sensitivity throughout. For admirers of music of the era, this disc represents an appealing prospect—and Richter absolutely deserves much greater exposure.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2011

There is little doubt that Franz Xaver Richter’s decision to dissociate his music from the overt virtuosity fashionable in the mid 18th century has resulted in his output falling into obscurity. He was already thirty-one before we have our first record of his working existence, his name appearing as the vice-Kapellmeister in Kempton. Our next reference point comes with his membership of the court orchestra in Mannheim, and from there we begin to follow his career as a highly respected musician who was to teach several important young musicians including Carl Stamitz. His travels were to take him to England, France and Spain while he was producing a sizable catalogue of works in many genres. Published 1764 in a volume of six sonatas for flute, harpsichord and cello, there was, apparently, an earlier and somewhat different version of the Sonate da camara scored for violin, harpsichord and cello. The notes that accompany the disc relate at length to the harpsichord’s important role, though in actuality we hear lyric flute sonatas with the cello and harpsichord adding an interesting accompaniment. In three movements the finales are quick and require much agility from the performer. I assume that Pauliina Fred is using a Baroque flute, her playing neat and having a sense of period style. Heidi Peltoniemi’s cello intonation is true, and the harpsichord comes from the much experienced Aapo Hakkinen. The sound of the harpsichord set to the back may have been the balance the trio envisaged.

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group