Hans Huber Quintet and Sextet for Winds and Piano


Musiques Suisses presents a second CD dedicated to the chamber music of Hans Huber (1852-1921). The previous one (MSS 6257) gave us the Quartet for Piano & Strings and the Quintet for Piano & Strings. This new release, also of chamber music with piano, offers the composer's music for winds - a quintet and a sextet both scored for flute, clarinet, horn and bassoon, with an oboe as the fifth wind instrument in the sextet.

There is not very much of Huber's music available on CD; what there is comes primarily from the Swedish label Sterling and Swiss label Musiques Suisses. Huber's orchestral music has been recorded by Jörg Peter Weigle with the Stuttgart Philharmonic on Sterling. American Record Guide wrote of it "This is music by a man with a big heart, and it can't help but cheer you up." The same can be said of his chamber music for winds, which is lively and inventive, rooted in folk music with sprightly rhythms and colorful harmonies. He has a predilection for triple meters, not only in his short, quick scherzos, but also in his big outer movements. Seamlessly integrated brief interludes that contrast in tempo and mood keep the listening experience fresh and interesting.

This is the only currently available recording of both pieces, so we are fortunate to have them in such fine performances. I don't see in the album notes that the performing ensemble has given itself a name, but they are exceptional players, with associations to the orchestras of Prague, Cologne, Berlin, Basle and Zurich. Pianist Konstantin Lifschitz is joined by Kaspar Zehnder, flute, Christian Hommel, oboe, Stephan Siegenthaler, clarinet, Olivier Darbellay, horn and Matthias Buhlmann, bassoon. Listeners who enjoy romantic chamber music for winds, by Reinecke for example, would enjoy this music too.