The superb court library of the Thurn und Taxis family in Regensburg contains many musical treasures, including the music of the almost forgotten Belgian composer Henri Joseph de Croes.
Given that he composed works for the clarinetto d'amore, an instrument that is also practically forgotten, he immediately becomes twice as interesting. The clarinetto d'amore has today completely disappeared from the concert stage; two replicas of this unusual instrument were therefore made especially for this recording.
All of the works by de Croes that presented on this 2CD set are world premiere recordings.
De Croes, however, was no obscure composer who wrote only for this curious instrument; he was a respected musician with an intriguing body of work. In order to provide a balanced overview of his output, this CD presents examples of his symphonies and concertos alongside his chamber works.
Henri Joseph de Croes was born in Brussels in 1758 and died in Regensburg in 1842. He was born two years after his illustrious contemporary and colleague Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Like Mozart, de Croes had a talented musician for a father who had won his spurs as leader of a typical central European court orchestra during the middle years of the 18th century. This father was Henri-Jacques de Croes (1705-1786), who had already become concert master of the court orchestra in Brussels in 1744. Between 1749 and his death in
1786 he worked as Kapellmeister to the court of Prince Charles of Lotharingen, the brother of the emperor who had been appointed as viceroy over the Austrian Netherlands.
Henri Joseph de Croes grew up in this environment and was quickly recognised as being a superb violinist.