Rodolph Kreutzer was born in Versailles in 1766 and became one of the most famous and influential violinists of his day. Like most contemporary musicians he was equally active as a composer, producing no fewer than nineteen violin concertos as well as a good deal of music for the stage – ballets, operas and opéras-comiques. Most of his chamber music dates from the 1790s. The exact date of the Oboe Quintet – the solo wind part may also be taken by the clarinet – is not known, but the work is presumed to have been written between 1790 and 1799. It is a relatively short piece, despite being labelled ‘Grand Quintet’. As in the Crusell there is a surprise in the first movement: in place of the development is an Andantino section, prefaced by a hymn-like passage for the strings. The slow movement itself, in F major, is long-lined, very vocal in style, with a recurring dotted rhythm (redolent of the first movement of Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight’ Sonata) and an affecting use of the Neapolitan. The music’s vocal quality is furthered by a recitative section, an operatic dialogue between oboe and first violin, before the short finale, a perky Presto non troppo.
from notes by Andrew Mikolajski © 1999