Saturday, 27 August 2011

Lessel, Sextets - Consortium Classicum

Franciszek Lessel (c.1780-1838)

Sextets for 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns & Double Bass
(Wind Sextets nos. 1, 3 and 4, all in E flat major)

Consortium Classicum


This CD looks like it's about to go out of print. Better get it soon if you want it.

Said to have been Haydn's favourite pupil Franciszek Lessel has so far evaded a revival of his music. Dieter Klöcker, the director of Consortium Classicum, has assembled scores of the Wind Sextets from the manuscript parts that survive in the Vienna Conservatoire library.

The prospect of three wind sextets for two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns and double bass by an unknown composer whose productive life reached almost forty years into the nineteenth century may not fill you with transports of delight. In fact this is fresh and airy music. Lessel is quite startling at the start of Sextet No. 4 with the strangest dissonant grumble before sweeping the listener up into a typically effervescent Mozartean Allegro molto. This is succeeded by five movements which include a nonchalant Siciliano, a flighty Polonois and a grave Adagio. The shorter, three movement Sextet No. 3 begins with a heartbeat-pulsed Largo which serves as a prelude to a chasseur Allegro Vivace, a placid Adagio, a very brief Menuetto and a final cheery Rondo. By now we are no longer surprised by the bipartite structure of the first movement of the Sextet No. 1 with its serious introduction and bubblingly spirited Marriage of Figaro-style, Allegro con Spirito. It's all charming stuff with an elegantly pointed Menuetto and a winged Rondo Vivace complete with hunting-horn graces.

Pleasing additions to the harmoniemusik repertoire to join Consortium Classicum’s previous efforts for MDG in Süßmayr, Hummel, Weber and Cartellieri.

Rob Barnett (