Paisiello: 6 Flute Quartets, Op. 23
Demetrio, Il; Formenti, Gabriele
As far as we can tell Paisiello's flute quartets were written in Naples in 1800, as were Cimarosa's more or less at the same time. They were likely composed with dilettante amateur players in mind: a commercial audience that was rapidly increasing at the time, as the sudden establishment and flourishing of music publishing houses across Europe demonstrated. The sonatas are gentle and undemanding works, cast in two movements apart from the single-movement Sixth. The flute carries most of the melodic interest and engages in lively duet writing with the violin, while a cello and harpsichord offer a solid foundation and deft accompaniment. Even the quicksilver passagework of the flute part lies within the range of a competent amateur, and there i smuch pleasure to be taken from melodies of a quality that made Paisiello the toast of Europe as an opera composer, pleasing public taste with more immediate success than Mozart. Indeed his most famous admirer was none other than Napoleon Bonaparte, who had appointed the composer maestro di cappella nazionale to the republic in May 1799, which got him in hot water when Naples was recaptured by teh forces of its king a month alter. While these sonatas were composed, the heads of Europe were wrangling over who would have first call on Paisiello's services. Napoleon won, and teh composer spent several profitable years in France before he sought release and a return home, though Napoleon continued to reward his service with a pension and membership of the Legion d'Honneur.