Hoffmeister/Beethoven: Duos for violin and cello

review hoffmeister x1 cong

Franz Anton Hoffmeister worked as both a composer and a publisher. In 1778 he was appointed kapellmeister to Count Franz von Szecsenyi; in his publishing job he was friendly with Mozart, and published work by Mozart and Beethoven. He also composed himself.

We’d guess he was workmanlike rather than a great composer so his publishing meant he could hang out with the famous composers, though he’d never be one.

The first piece on here is his Duos Op6 for violin and cello, which was aimed at the amateur market as far as publishing goes, so some technical challenges but not really hard.

The second piece is Beethoven’s Duos for Clarinet and Bassoon, which may or may not have been by the great man and it’s Friedrich Hermann’s arrangement for violin and cello anyway, so it’s perhaps one step removed from greatness.

This is pleasant and cultured chamber music and the violin of John Mills and cello of Bozidar Vukotic go together well (they’re 50% of the Tippett Quartet so are used to playing together). It’s pleasant and refined background or night-time music. Out now on Naxos 8.573541.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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