Anton Reicha
Two Andantes & Adagio ('pour le cor anglais')

Whilst professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire in the 1810s and 1820s, the Prague-born Anto Reicha wrote twenty-four wind quintets (and is often credited as being the first composer to use this grouping). But unlike his other quintets, the Two Andantes and Adagio (composed in Paris between 1817 and 1819) are written for a slightly unusual combination with cor anglais (probably intending the old curved instrument) replacing the oboe. In most Reicha quintets one instrument plays a more soloistic rôle, and in these movements that function inevitably falls to the cor anglais. Interestingly, the movements work equally well in performance as a suite and as single movements; we have elected to perform the Adagio followed by the first Andante. CMW

© 1996 The Arethusa Ensemble