An evening in 18th Century Vienna

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Franz Asplmayr – Six Quartets
Gallery Players of Niagara. 2020

Short of being able to ride a carriage back to eighteenth century Vienna, and snagging an invitation to a concert in some Noble court, we can come close to hearing what transpired by seeking out ensembles that play music composed then, and performed recently on instruments of the time.

The keyboards would sound (to our ears) tinny and sometimes sour. Stringed instruments, although delicate, would produce a rich, ethereal sonority.

The Toronto-based Eybler Quartet recreates those sounds.

Previous recordings have interpreted Mozart and Beethoven, as well as composers whose music has generally remained under the radar, including Joseph Eybler, Johann Baptist Vanhal and Johann Georg Heinrich Backofen.

Here the quartet offers the first-known recording of six string quartets by the Viennese composer Franz Asplmayr (1728-1786). A contemporary of Haydn and Mozart, the prolific Asplmayr is credited with 41 symphonies, 43 string quartets, 70 trios and 25 ballets.

This 2-disc recording continues the quartet’s tradition of first-class performance. It invites us to step up into a carriage and ride back to that era where bewigged doormen usher us into a candle-lit hall for an evening of gorgeous music.


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