Viotti: Flute Quartets, Op. 22

Album cover art for upc 5028421956459
Catalog: BRI95645

Viotti Quartet

On this new recording, the flautist Stefano Parrino is joined by his brother, the Viotti expert and violinist Francesco Parrino, as well as two of the other string players who, as the Viotti String Quartet, have recorded the composer’s complete works in that medium for Brilliant Classics (95264). The set met with a warm critical reception for its ‘top-notch’ musicians (Fanfare). Giovanni Battista Viotti (1755–1824) was one of the leading Italian violin virtuosos in the period between Tartini and Paganini. Having settled in Paris in 1782, he became a teacher of such influence that he is now counted the founder of the French violin school, though he moved to London in 1792, where he remained for the rest of his life, performing as a soloist in Salomon’s concerts and forging a friendship with Haydn. The three Op.22 quartets - Viotti’s only works for this combination of players - belong to the genre of chamber music intended for amateurs and professional players alike. They probably date from 1802-6, when Viotti had largely retired from public performance in London and was dividing his energies between composition and business ventures as both an impresario and a wine importer. Thus the mood of these works is easy-going, undemanding for performers and listeners alike, crafted to give pleasure before instruction. The second movement of Nos. 1 and 3 is a short bridge between the two outer sections, whereas in No.2 it takes the shape of a simple and minuet, followed by a minor-key trio which is the most harmonically surprising passage in the trios as a whole. Played by the Italian Viotti Quartet, paying an impressive tribute to their name giver Giovanni Battista Viotti. They already successfully recorded the complete Viotti String Quartets for Brilliant Classics.

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