Raff is one composer whose posthumous reputation has suffered enormously with his vast oeuvre almost completely forgotten. A recent revival of his symphonies on a variety of labels has shown that he has flair and charm if not always a top rank composer.
Dabringhaus & Grimm continually churns out precious chamber music gems that are fast becoming unique to the catalogue. This latest release is no exception and I would advise listeners who have found Raff's symphonies enjoyable to sample some of his most exquisite chamber works.
The Sextet, Op. 178 is probably the best work of the two recorded here with a highly enjoyable Allegro and a beautiful Larghetto, rather reminiscent of Beethoven's 2nd Symphony. Raff uses colour and has a fine palette that makes the music all the more attractive especially in the final Allegro.
The Grand Quintet is an earlier work and at times, I do feel that the piano part is a mite boorish but other listeners may digress from that view! It would be safe to say that the Ensemble Villa Musica are ideal interpreters and that the disc will appeal to chamber music lovers who enjoy seeking out such rarities.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech