American Record Guide
May/June 2009

PLEYEL: Chamber pieces

Quintet in E-Flat for flute, oboe, strings; 2 Quartets in G for oboe & strings; Quartet in D for flute & strings
Orsolya Kaczander, fl; Lajos Lencsés, ob; Vilmos Szabadi, v; Péter Bársony, va; Péter Szabó, vc
Hungaroton 32572 – 59 minutes

Ignatz Pleyel was a triple success: as a composer, an instrument maker, and a music publisher. His compositions are variable in quality, and I have been a bit hard on Pleyel once or twice recently. But this is very attractive. These chamber works were written from 1788 to 1799, when he was in his 30s – the period when he wrote his most interesting compositions. The combination of flute and/or oboe and strings evidently appealed to him; this is some of the most inspired music I have heard from him.

Born in Austria, he studied firest with Vanhal and then Haydn, with whom he remained friendly for the rest of Haydn’s life. He then studied in Italy for a few years before settling in Strasbourg in 1784.

These works were written for social occasions. They are fairly light and polished and often have some humor. The first piece for flute, oboe, and strings is a special pleasure to hear; it is filled with interesting thematic twists and turns. The other works for flute or oboe and strings are also polished and bring considerable pleasure to listeners. The interplay between wind and strings is most satisfying.

These fine performances are very well recorded and are accompanied by interesting notes.


Péter Szabó cellist, conductor, music editor
Péter Szabó's recordings are available on