Quintet No.3 in F Major
For Flute or Oboe, Horn, Violin, Viola & Bass
Giovanni Punto (1746-1803) was born in the Bohemian village Žehušice. His original name was Jan Stich. He studied violin, voice and horn, the later instrument on which he excelled to such an extent that he was widely regarded as the finest horn player of his time. Stich escaped from his obligations to his noble employer Count Thun by fleeing to Italy where he changed his name in part to escape soldiers which were sent after him to effect a capture and return. He toured all over Europe and was especially popular in the salons of Paris where he often performed. As a composer, Punto was and still is controversial, due to the allegations of plagiarism made against him by the German musicologist Ernst Gerber at the beginning of the 19th century, shortly after Punto's death. Gerber, writing in a musical encyclopedia, simply repeated accusations made by Karl Türrschmidt, a jealous, horn-playing rival of Punto's. The allegations were never proved. The fact is, however, that several of Punto's appealing compositions, which brilliantly exploit the middle register of the horn, are arrangements of works by other composers.
The Quintet which we have made available here is a case in point. At the end of the 1780s, the Parisian music publisher Sieber brought out a set of parts, the title page of which announced three new quintets for horn, flute (or oboe), and strings by Giovanni Punto "Trois/QUINTEITI/Pour Cor, FIute ou Hautbois, Violon, Alto et Basse / Composes Par / M. PUNTO /Execute au Concert de la Reine par auteur" The Sieber publication contains only one original composition, the Quintet No. 1. Small notes in the parts to Quintet No.2 state that it is an arrangement of a wind quintet by Antonio Rosetti (1750-1792); and in No.3 notes state it is based on a composition of by the violinist Federigo Fiorillo (1755-1823), believed to have originally been a string quintet. In fairness to Punto it must be pointed out that titles such as that of his three quintets were by no means unusual during the 18th century. Quintets No.2 and 3 do not fall into the category of plagiarism for the simple reason that the composers which served as Punto's models are acknowledged, albeit not in the most prominent position. And, of course, composers often took works of other composers and made variations or other works based on its themes.
The Quintet in F Major is in two movements, and as noted calls for a Flute or Oboe, Horn, Violin, Viola and Bass. Not surprisingly, the work is a showcase for the horn. Although the strings and flute play an accompanying but indispensable role. The Quintet is in the concertante mode, which was typical for the time and which served Punto so well when he toured Paris in the 1780’s. The opening Allegro begins and continues in fanfare fashion with several special interludes for the horn but also the flute and violin. The horn introduces the upbeat main theme to the concluding movement, Rondo, allegretto. Again, the horn, the flute and the violin are given several chances to shine in a movement which often sounds more than a bit like Mozart.
Our new edition is based on the 1788 Sieber edition. We have corrected some mistakes and added rehearsal numbers. This is a work which will certainly be welcome to fine horn players looking for a chance to shine.