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Franz and Karl DOPPLER (1821-1883); (1825-1900)
Music for Flutes and Orchestra: Rigoletto, Fantaisie Op.38 [9:55]; Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise Op.26 [10:31]; Andante and Rondo Op. 25 [9:43]; Duettino sur des motifs Américains Op. 37 [7:02]; Valse di Bravura Op 33 [10:35]; Concerto for two flutes and orchestra in D minor [18:39]
Patrick Gallois (flute); Kazunori Seo (flute)
Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä/Patrick Gallois
rec. 25-28 September 2006, Lauka Church, Jyväskylä, Finland. DDD
NAXOS 8.570378 [66:26]


Experience Classicsonline

The Doppler brothers’ flute music has a reputation for being fun to play, virtuoso and light-hearted. There are numerous stories flying around about the brothers, the most famous of which is that they toured Europe playing flute duets with one player using a left-handed flute which allowed them to produce a mirror image of each other. As far as I am aware, there is no evidence to support this claim, and it may well be an urban myth, but it makes a good story. This is ostensibly salon music, and frequently makes use of famous themes of the day. There is a strong element of fun, and the music is enjoyable to listen to and to play.

This disc comprises transcriptions of many of the well-known two flute and piano works for orchestra, alongside the Concerto for two flutes in D minor. The piano writing lends itself well to orchestration and, played with orchestra, these works are given new expressive means. 

The Rigoletto Fantaisie utilizes the main themes from the opera in a charming and amusing way. The two flute parts, in this arrangement by Risto Keinänen, are evenly matched, and the orchestral arrangement is light and well thought out.

The atmospheric opening to the Hungarian Pastoral Fantasy is beautifully played, with Gallois giving a splendid performance. The pacing is just right, with a wonderful sense of flow and space. The orchestration is cleverly put together, and mimics an eastern European orchestral sound. Gallois includes some subtle and well-placed pitch bends. The faster moving sections are fluent and engaging, with excellent technical control. 

The Andante and Rondo is perhaps one of the most frequently played of the Doppler works, with the lyrical Andante providing an opportunity for each of the flute players to show their expressive abilities, and the Rondo demonstrating technical prowess. The two flutes here are evenly matched in their playing; one could almost imagine that they were multi-tracked. They capture the essence of Doppler’s style extremely well; despite the light-hearted nature of the music, they approach it with artistry and musicality, demanding as high standards in this repertoire as in something more serious. Only in this way can the true nature of this music come across as it does here. The orchestral playing is similarly well controlled and provides an excellent accompaniment. 

Duettino sur des motifs Américains is one of my favourite tracks on the disc. Franz Doppler has captured the American style with panache, and it sounds all the better here with another well thought out orchestration by Risto Keinänen. The Star-Spangled Banner is a particularly effective moment, and one could almost imagine this arrangement being used to accompany TV footage for a presidential campaign. Pure brilliance. I couldn’t help but bop along to Yankee Doodle - cheesy it may be, but it is also hugely entertaining, and extremely well played. 

The Valse di Bravura has an entirely different feel, showing the range of scope within Doppler’s music. The opening is rather more serious, with rich tone from both of the flute players and a strong sense of pulse. The mood changes, giving way to a Viennese-style waltz. This is a sincere work, which maintains its weightiness throughout, despite virtuoso displays from the flutes and a particularly impressive cadenza. The playing is impressive from all performers. 

The Concerto is a further exploration into Franz Doppler’s serious side. The frivolity of the Fantaisie is replaced with a Romantic sentiment akin to Mendelssohn or Weber. The orchestral introduction is rich and full-bodied, and although one can still tell from the flute writing that Doppler is the composer, it is a world apart from the salon works that are so well-known by flute players the world over. As one would expect, the virtuoso displays are still very much in evidence, with some wonderfully executed similar motion chromatic scales heard in the two flutes. The playing in the Andante is rich, warm and expressive, with both flute players demonstrating a range of tone colours and good sense of phrasing. The waltz-like movement flows along beautifully, leading to a charismatic finale. Gallois and Seo once again give an inspirational performance throughout but especially in the extended cadenza; their ensemble playing is truly spectacular. 

Thoroughly enjoyable, with excellent playing throughout.

Carla Rees


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