Janitsch: Sonatas, etc
Tempesta di Mare CHANDOS ★★★★★
Though less well known now than contemporaries such as Graun and Benda, Johann Gottlieb Janitsch was also part of the group of musicians at the heart of Frederick the Great’s court orchestra in the 18th century. Janitsch played the double bass, but he was also a prolific composer. Though only a fraction of his music survives, it includes more than 70 sonatas and 30 sinfonias. Much of that material was thought to have been destroyed in Berlin during the second world war, but it resurfaced in Kiev in 1999 and was subsequently returned to Germany.
The Philadelphia-based baroque ensemble Tempesta di Mare includes a substantial overture and four sonatas in their Janitsch selection. They are tidy performances of fairly unremarkable pieces, though the sonatas da chiesa and sonatas di camera indicate Janitsch was writing for highly competent instrumentalists. In their time they were much admired, and remain a bit more than historical curios. AC
Immaculate precision … Riccardo Chailly and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra; below,
Laura van der Heijden