The Kuijken Ensemble - Haydn: Flute Quartets Opus 5

Saturday 1st October 1994
The Kuijken Ensemble - Haydn: Flute Quartets Opus 5

STYLE: Classical
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: Accent 9283/4

Reviewed by John Irvine

This would be an interesting collection of Haydn's chamber music for the flute it were but for one small detail - the music isn't by Haydn! The Opus 5 Quartets were first published in Amsterdam in 1768, then Paris in 1773 and then in England a few years afterwards. Only two of the six quartets - numbers four and six - were actually by Haydn, and are young works full of promise of greater things. The other quartets cannot be linked to earlier or later music by Haydn. It seems that the publisher thought up the Opus 5 collection. There was no copyright protection and young, struggling composers found their works stolen, rearranged for certain combinations of instruments to fill out a collection with works by other composers, with only one name - a rising star - ascribed to the collection. Publishers chose their works well - the other four quartets are in a very similar style, so it is easy to believe that all six were penned by the same composer. For better or worse, Haydn's name is forever linked to these quartets. The music itself is simple, straightforward, melodic, charming and entertaining and is played with great energy, enthusiasm and pleasure by the Dutch Kuijken Ensemble. Good music. If only we knew who wrote it!

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