Sigismund von Neukomm: Quintet; Septet; Octet; Nonet


Sigismund von Neukomm has appeared previously in the virtual pages of Expedition Audio for a cpo CD of his orchestral music. This second Neukomm disc, also from cpo, offers an assorted collection of the composer's chamber music with winds, performed by the Kammerensemble Classic der Deutschen Opera Berlin.

Sigismond Neukomm (1778-1858) became Sigismund Ritter von Neukomm after being ennobled as a knight. A student and friend of both Franz Joseph and Michael Haydn, he kept company with the greatest composers of his day, was a celebrated composer himself and a renowned statesman for music. He travelled extensively throughout Europe, Russia and South America promoting Viennese classical music.

A highly prolific composer, Neukomm wrote chamber music in a wide variety of forms, usually for rather atypical instrumental groupings. Those of the classic string quartet and piano trio for example are absent from his catalog all together. On this CD alone we have six works, all but one scored differently from the rest including a Nocturne for Oboe, Horn and Piano - a Quintet for Flute, Horn, Violin, Viola and Harp - and a Septet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet and Double Bass. Each piece is relatively brief and all are in one movement only. von Neukomm is evidently experimenting with instrumental combinations, creating unique sounds that might later be heard in other chamber works or in his orchestral pieces. The music is all very fun to listen to. If you enjoy the wind music of Hummel, Reicha, Danzi or Krommer, you'll enjoy this too.

The performances are excellent. These guys can play, and play together, as they do during their day jobs as members of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Performances are stylistically homogeneous, perfectly balanced and in tune, and recorded in a big rich sound with the instruments well forward creating sonics ideal for the intimacy of a chamber music recording.