Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 10

It was Heinz Holliger and friends who began the “Zelenka Renaissance,” if you can call it that, way back in the early 1970s with their Archiv recording of these Trio Sonatas. These pieces are, without question, the finest works of their type produced during the Baroque period. Their style is as instantly recognizable as it is impossible to describe. “Quirky” might sum it up best: the tunes are ear-catching, the rhythmic complexities years—indeed centuries—ahead of their time, and the harmonies utterly personal and expressive. The only thing that has kept these works from the Baroque “Top Ten” is their appalling difficulty in performance (just listen to the bassoon in Sonata No. 5, and you’ll get the idea). For this reason, it’s not surprising that Holliger wanted to take another shot at music that he has lived with for nearly 40 years, and his performances (which include several members of his original Archiv team) are an improvement in every way. Where before he was content to more or less get through the notes, here he and his partners play with such ease and sovereign command, and are so beautifully recorded, that this set easily becomes the reference edition for this marvelous music. Essential.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: This One

JAN DISMAS ZELENKA - Trio Sonatas, ZWV 181

  • Heinz Holliger and Maurice Bourgue (oboes)
    Thomas Zehetmair (violin)
    Klaus Thunemann (bassoon)
    Klaus Stoll (double-bass)
    Jonathan Rubin (lute)
    Christiane Jaccottet (harpsichord)
  • ECM - 1671/72
  • CD

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