- String Quartets (6), Op. 15 (B. 70-75) - François-Joseph Gossec - Adélaïde Labille-Guiard
Believe it or not, François-Joseph Gossec was the French musical equivalent of Haydn and Beethoven. Under the ancient régime, Gossec established single-handedly the primacy of the string quartet and the symphony in French instrumental music and under the Empire, Gossec created a revolutionary form of massed public music pre-dating Beethoven's "Ninth." Find that hard to believe? Try this disc of Gossec's six quartets by the Quatuor Ad Fontes. Composed in the early 1770s contemporaneously with the quartets of Haydn's first maturity, Gossec's quartets are decidedly different from but no less convincing than Haydn's. They are all in two unequal movements, sometimes an expressive Larghetto paired with a lively Englese, sometimes a robust Allegretto coupled with an elegant Tempo di Menuetto. The Quatuor Ad Fontes has a warm tone and a comfortable technique and its dedication to the music is unquestionable. Alpha's sound is deep and clear and the packaging is rich and detailed. This is an ideal recording for anyone who already knows and loves the string quartets of Haydn and it is a fine introduction to the music of Gossec.