"The cover of this
disc proclaims The Quintet . . . is quite simply, a very beautiful
pieces of music. Fanfare Magazine. Fortunately the review
was in Volume 8, No. 1, the earliest issue covered by the Seagulls
Fanfare Index, else I might not have found it. There Paul Snook
also says many things Capstone would rather not quote, such as Can
the revulsion against our centurys moral horrors and esthetic distortions
be carried any further toward derrière-garde obliviousness?
I could go on, but reissue rules demand brevity. The music is all
pleasant, yes, even lovely, and it all belies its dates of composition
(1972-1981) by a century or so. Performances especially Lucarellis
oboe playing are gorgeous, and the CD transfers are clean and clear.
This is twentieth century music for the most reactionary tastes.
But not for me."
20th Century Music - January 1998 - by Carolyn Hautbois
"In our so-called
post-modernist world it often seems that the future is past and
the past is future. Case in point Robert Baksas release
on Capstone, which often sounds all the world out of another century.
The program notes by Anthony Angarano make no bones about it: "Seldom
experimental, Baksa has continually expressed his individuality
through practiced craftsmanship and genuine melodic invention. By
avoiding the trendy academic movements and passing musical fashions,
he has maintained his creative integrity and emerged as one of Americas
most original composers." Correct, aside from the hyperbole.
Baksas "Quintet for Oboe and Strings" sounds much
like Mozart, and is supposed to. "Inspired by Mozarts
models of chamber music for woodwinds and strings, Robert Baksa
composed his "Oboe Quintet" according to the conventions
of the classical style. Finding flexibility within the form, however,
he has created a fresh, 20th-century work. While replicating
the linear clarity, sense of proportion and harmonic simplicity,
he has imbued the idiom with a distinctive American flavor."
While the composer appears on the CD photo in a sweater and sneakers,
this is every inch tuxedo music, with very little that is 20th-century
American a few turns of phrase, a tendency to blend classical
with romantic and 20th century idioms in its hints of
Wagner and Stravinsky aside from reflecting some of the 20th-century
American classical-music establishments love affair with the
past in general and Mozart in Particular. Even the antecedent/consequent
phrases of the third-movement "Allegretto" seem crafted
from Wolfies "Oboe Concerto."
The Beethovian "12
Bagatelles" of the CD cover actually "Six Bagatelles"
(1974), "Three Bagatelles" (1975), and "Three Bagatelles"
(1981) occasionally have similar suggestions of a harmonic
palette and rhythmic energy of later times, sometimes only of Chopin
and Debussy, but at other times alluding to neoclassicism and light
jazz. Unlike music of some composers, the later pieces are more
adventurous: the first of the 1981 set a delightful spin on a turn
of a "Turkish march" parody. These works, as well as the
"Overture for Clarinet," are all suitable for cocktail
TurokÕs Choice - February 1992 - Issue No. 20 - by Paul Turok
"A charming oboe
quintet by Robert Baksa has been reissued on cd, along with his
highly engaging Bagatelles for piano (CPS-8610, analog).
Excellent performances by various artists."