Related Reviews
Limelight Magazine
4½ Stars
'These sonatas are superb examples of the quadro sonata, a genre in which all four voices were given fully independent parts.'
more >>
American Record Guide
'an outstanding recording'
more >>
Fanfare
'Everyone blends well and the tone colors are striking...'
more >>
audaud.com
'virtuosic to an extreme degree.'
more >>
SA-CD.net
4½ Stars
'If you think you know Baroque music, you're in for a series of pleasant shocks.'
more >>
Pizzicato
'Super Sonic Award': Review in French
more >>
BBC Music Magazine
Chamber Choice: '...the players combine wit, taste and an earthy Bohemian wink to win the heart.'
more >>
Gramophone
'Zelenka revival arrives at the chamber works.'
more >>
Double Reed News
Zelenka in Scotland
more >>
International Record Review
'They bring bags of bite and energy to the unison theme of the opening ritornello movement...'
more >>
Music Web International
'...direct and exciting – still refined and beautifully transparent of sound, but with greater impulse and energy.'
more >>
The Irish Times
These sonatas, by Jan Dismas Zelenka, may be nearly 300 years old, but the Bohemian composer's music has lost nothing of its capacity to surprise.
more >>
The Herald
'Why there's an air of genius in the wind'
more >>
The Observer
'lively'
more >>

Ensemble Marsyas - Zelenka Sonatas - Music Web International


01 November 2012
Music Web International
Brian Wilson

The Harnoncourt recording contains an account of the Sonata in g minor, ZWV181/2 for two oboes, bassoon and continuo, so it's complementary to the new Linn which contains three other sonatas from that series. These works are witty, enjoyable, enterprising and challenging and they receive performances here at least as good as from Concentus Musicus, with the same blend of scholarship (pitch = 415Hz and Silbermann II temperament) and musicality that the older recording displays, together with the fruits of more modern scholarship.

Indeed, having been recorded at the York Early Music Festival, they seem to have captured some of the magic which surrounds that event. I hadn't encountered Ensemble Marsyas before. Their namesake challenged Apollo to a musical contest, which is pretty apt as an indication of the high calibre of their playing, but I hope that they don't share his fate of being flayed alive for his impertinence - not for nothing does Apollo's name derive from the Greek verb to destroy.

With excellent recording - I've listened to both the SACD and 24/96 download - and a booklet of notes that wouldn't shame even Hyperion, I have only one grumble. I refrained from complaining about the short playing time on the second CD when I reviewed the Accent recording of Zelenka's funeral music on the grounds that any fill-up would have seemed irrelevant, but that doesn't prevent my pointing out that 50 minutes on the new Linn recording is very short value when we could have been given more of the sonatas from ZWV181.


Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Ensemble MarsyasEnsemble Marsyas
Zelenka: SonatasZelenka: Sonatas