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CD Review

Franciszek Lessel

Sextets for 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns & Double Bass

  • Wind Sextet #1 in E Flat Major
  • Wind Sextet #3 in E Flat Major
  • Wind Sextet #4 in E Flat Major
Consortium Classicum
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG3011509-2 57m DDD
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Franciszek Lessel was born circa 1780 in Poland but he came from Bohemian stock. Although he showed promise at an early age, his father pushed him towards the medical profession, but young Franciszek's insistence to become a musician finally won the day. In 1799, he went to Vienna and became Haydn's favourite pupil, even contributing to the master's well-being in his capacity as a doctor.

Returning to Poland in 1810 he was soon regarded as one of the country's new generation of composers, and the publication of some of his pieces spread his fame all over Europe. He died in 1838 aged 58 and with a considerable output to his name. In spite of Haydn's strong influence on Lessel, the latter's instrumental compositions abound with Polish musical flavor and the three Sextets on this disc are excellent examples of his ability to combine traditional material with the avant-garde drive towards a new romantic era in which the national language reflected the process of musical development.

These three works are also outstanding for the balance they display between the dance rhythms and the quieter passages, particularly the slow introductions. The German ensemble, Consortium Classicum, has established an enviable reputation for superb clarity for superb clarity and all-round agility and aplomb in the interpretation of this repertoire and this recording is no less fresh and spontaneous than previous ventures. This wholly beautiful music, exquisitely performed and sumptuously recorded is certainly worth investigating.

Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech