john feeney


19 Apr 2013
Dagonetti's New Academy, Volume 2 review
What he said.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

DRAGONETTI String Quartet No. 2. String Quintets: Nos. 11, 26. HAYDN Divertimento, Hob. II: C5 • John Feeney (db); Loma Mar Qrt (period instruments) • DRAGONETTI’S NEW ACADEMY DNA 2011 (58:17) 

This is the second volume of the chamber music of Domenico Dragonetti (1763–1846) from John Feeney and company, the first having been issued in 2009 and reviewed in Fanfare Read more 33:3. If you’ve read the interview, by now you are familiar with the story of John Feeney and his remarkable good fortune in discovering this treasure trove of chamber music in the British Library, not to mention his unflagging dedication in making the music available to the record-buying public. 

The music displays the same delightful mix of early Romanticism coupled with late 18th-century melodic invention that marked the first disc. In truth I find the Romantic component to be stronger in this group of selections, particularly the minor-mode second movement of Quintet No. 26. Ditto the Quartet No. 2, which begins with a quasi-improvisatory introduction (violin over tremolo strings) and segues to an impassioned Andantino reminiscent of late Beethoven. The two-movement Quintet No. 11 begins in the minor mode and concludes with a Rondo-Vivace that places considerable melodic demands on the double bass. 

The five-movement divertimento of Haydn is an early work that was probably written while the composer was employed at Esterháza. It includes two minuets and concludes with a somewhat misleadingly named Adagio that is quite rhythmically active at times. The double bass in this work is integrated into the ensemble and therefore has correspondingly fewer melodic duties than in the Dragonetti pieces. 

Feeney and the Loma Mar Quartet continue to impress with some of the finest string playing I’ve heard on CD in a long time. Hearing the double bass in chamber music can be a surprise at first, but the strength and robust beauty of its voice will eventually win you over. The contribution of the Loma Mar Quartet is so outstanding that I’d love to hear it tackle some of the mainstream quartets of Haydn and Mozart— senza basso (sorry, John). Recorded sound and annotations are all that one could wish for. The CD is now available from all the usual online vendors—no need to order directly from the artists, as with the first release. Highly recommended. 

FANFARE: Christopher Brodersen 



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