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Janitsch: Sonate da camera

Early Music America
1 mars 2010

Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708-c.1763) was one of the court musicians in the Royal Orchestra of the Court of Prussia under Frederick the
Great. He was born in Silesia and performed before Frederick when the future ruler was still a prince. When Frederick was crowned, Janitsch
moved to Berlin as part of the royal music retinue. In addition to his duties as a court musician and sometime composer, Janitsch held a weekly concert series in his home. Talented amateurs from the upper crust of Berlin played alongside Janitsch’s colleagues
from the court orchestra. For these informal gatherings, Janitsch composed a series of quartets, 27 of which survive. Basically, these are written for four voices with a figured bass line. Their instrumentation varies in unexpected ways, including a combination heard on this CD of oboe d’amore, two violas, and continuo. More than 20 feature the oboe, which is what originally interested artistic director Christopher Palameta, a former Tafelmusik oboist. He leads the Montreal-based ensemble Notturna in an expert performance of five of these quartets—
three of which are world premiere recordings. This music can best be described as galant. It’s bright and lively and not fussy. Janitsch explores the different timbres of the instruments boldly and with a sense of curiosity. Notturna’s playing is spirited and sensitive and highlights the intricacies of the composer’s crisp counterpoint. In particular, the marvelous oboe playing is smooth and sparkling and almost sweet. I have always preferred the sound of the Baroque oboe to the modern version, and this disc reminds me of why. This is Notturna’s first CD, but
ATMA has committed to recording all of the Janitsch quartets with them (volume two is scheduled for release in spring 2010). Fewer than half the quartets exist in modern editions, so Notturna is working with musicologist Brian Clark and the Scottish publishing house Prima la Musica! to publish the remaining works. There are also other Janitsch quartets in the Prussian State Library in Berlin—recently uncovered
after they were carted off to Kiev by the Soviet Army after Berlin was divided following Word War II. So this might even be called the beginning of a Janitsch revival.
Beth Adelman - Early Music America

MusicWeb
12 novembre 2009

Of the five sonatas on this very pleasant CD, three (Op.5, Op.5A and Op.5B) are receiving what appear to be their first recordings. One of the attractions of these sonatas - and they have a number - is that Janitsch writes for more or less unfamiliar combinations of instruments. So the first sonata (the one without an opus number) uses the oboe, the violin, the viola and continuo; Opus 5 is for two oboes, viola and continuo; the Opus 4 sonata is written for the oboe d’amore, two violas and continuo, while Opus 5B deploys the oboe d’amore, two violas and continue and Opus 5A is for flute, oboe, oboe d’amore and continuo. The changing textures, and Janitsch’s obvious fascination with the possibilities thus created give these sonatas a very pleasing variety. This is a programme one can readily listen to straight through. Add to such considerations the fact that Janitsch has a genuine gift for melody and a fondness for somewhat improbable harmonic shifts - as, for example, in the Vivace of the quartet in A minor - and one has music that is far from routine. A fondness for syncopation, an obvious familiarity with the music of his Berlin colleague C.P.E. Bach, serve to give to Janitsch’s music an essentially galant and expressive manner which is very attractive.

The musicians of Notturna are very accomplished and the recorded sound is good (the tone of Christopher Palameta’s oboe and oboe d’amore being particularly well caught). It is to be hoped that further volumes will follow. While the world can hardly be full of people waiting eagerly for recordings of the work of Janitsch (whose name has not made a previous appearance on the pages of MusicWeb), this music which should give real pleasure to anyone with an interest in the music of the mid Eighteenth Century.
Glyn Pursglove - MusicWeb

Sonate da camera volume 1
1 octobre 2009

For all his militarism, Prussia's Frederick the Great supported composers who left their mark on music; the role of J.J Quantz in developing the modern flute comes to mind. Frederick's most senior musicians included Johann Gottlieb Janitsch whose manuscripts were stored at the Berlin Singakademie; World War Two (when the Singakademie was plundered) deprived us of many of Janitsch's works.
Twenty-seven quadro sonatas did survive. Christopher Palameta brings us five; that in G Minor (O Haupt voll Blut Wunden) takes precedence and with good reason. The opening bars of the Largo are ate once celestial and solemn; the all-but-forgotten Janitsch is no composer of dull chamber music.
Throughout the recording Palameta's passion for the oboe is clear. Two of the three used are copies of contemporary oboes from Leipzig, one from Saxony. Both oboists in Notturna rise masterfully to the varied and demanding challenges of the Allegro in the C Minor Sonata Op. 4.
It would be wrong to ignore the contribution of the strings to this recording. Janitsch was fond of using the viola which he selects slightly more frequently in his sonatas than either the flute or the violin. Two violas certainly add a slightly darker quality to the Vivace of the Sonata in E Minor Op. 5B.
Through his own inspirational direction Palameta has literally revived Janitsch's music; three of there five sonatas are recorded here for the first time ever.
Michael Schwartz - The WholeNote

Early Music Review
2 août 2009

I have visited Notturna’s innovative website several times and much enjoyed listening to soundbites from their concerts but this (to my knowledge) is their CD debut and it marks an auspicious start to their planned project to record Johann Gottlieb Janitsch’s marvellously quirky chamber music.

Throughout, Notturna produce beautiful sound, neatly balancing the three upper voices that are so characteristic of Janitsch’s sonate da camera. The scoring of the original manuscripts often allows for a variety of instruments to play one or more of the parts, but Christopher Palameta has brought together a group of fabulous musicians who clearly relish the interplay between the voices and the composer’s intricate counterpoint – don’t be put off by that remark; the music is never anything less than very pleasing to the ears!

Congratulations to all concerned – the musicians for their fantastic achievements, and the record company (and the sponsors listed in the informative booklet) for backing a project that so many others would have shied away from in these difficult economic times – let’s hope sales of this marvellous disc justify their faith in an obscure Silesian double bass player’s delightful chamber music.
Brian Clark - Early Music Review
 

CD HotList
2 juillet 2009

This is a lovely collection of quadro sonatas, several of them in world-premiere recordings, by the relatively obscure composer J.G. Janitsch of the court of Frederick the Great. The pieces all prominently feature the oboe, and the playing by the Notturna chamber ensemble (on period instruments, led by the excellent baroque oboist Christopher Palameta) is excellent. Even if the music itself were less significant than it is, the quality of both the music and the playing would be enough to strongly recommend this disc to all classical collections.
Rick Anderson - CD HotList

Janitsch: Sonate da camera Vol. 1
1 juillet 2009

★★★★★
Si Johann Gottlieb Janitsch est un compositeur inconnu, ce n'est pas faute de talent mais bien parce que la plus grande partie de son oeuvre a disparu lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Heureusement, vingt-sept quatuors survivent, dont ATMA entreprend ici l'édition, audacieux projet discographique appelé à faire date. Les oeuvres révélées dans ce premier volume, pour la plupart inédites, sont en effet du meilleur cru. Actif à la cour de Frédéric II de Prusse, Janitsch développe un langage personnel raffiné où l'art du contrepoint savant hérité de la tradition côtoie l'esprit galant des frères Graun et le style fantasque de Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach. Pour notre plus grand plaisir, chaque pièce est présentée dans une instrumentation différente et souvent inusitée, voir rarissime, dont la seule mention est déjà prometteuse (flûte traversière, hautbois et hautbois d'amour, deux hautbois et un alto, hautbois d'amour et deux altos et ainsi de suite). Les musiciens du jeune ensemble montréalais Notturna, dont c'est ici le premier disque, maîtrisent parfaitement leurs instruments et en exploitent tout le grain sonore en de savoureux échanges colorés.
Philippe Gervais - La Scena Musicale

Johann Gottlieb Janitsch, Sonate Da Camera, Vol. 1
16 juin 2009

Former Tafelmusik oboist Christopher Palameta leads his period-performance Notturna ensemble in five sonatas by Prussian court compeer Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708-1763). Three are premiere recordings. The musicians play with a fluid, seductive balance. Palameta's silky oboe sound is captivating (...)
★★★ (sur 4)
John Terauds - The Toronto Star