Ignaz Pleyel’s numerous chamber compositions include a set of three quintets for the infrequently encountered ensemble of flute, oboe, violin, viola and cello/bass. First published in 1788 as the composer’s Op. 18, the quintets were quickly taken up by various publishers throughout Europe. Today, they are all but forgotten.
As one might expect of music by Pleyel, the Op. 18 quintets are imbued with appealing melodies and pleasing harmonies. They are also surprisingly inventive in terms of combining instrumental timbres, in spite of the limits imposed by their reduced scoring. Technically, they are not especially difficult, however the flute, oboe, violin and viola are all given several solo episodes, some of which may require a bit of practice!
These works are highly suitable for programmes featuring mixed wind and string chamber music, and would make perfect companion pieces to Classical quartets or quintets by, for example, Mozart, Haydn, Boccherini or Cambini.