This two disc set contains the first complete recordings of Viotti’s
Nocturnes and Serenades for flute and piano. Born in the Italian
town of Fontanetto Po in 1755, Viotti was a violinist who was
known throughout Europe. He worked in Paris from 1782 to 1792,
and then moved to London, where he lived until his death in 1824.
He was a respected member of the cultural community, and worked
as a performer, composer and manager, with contemporaries such
as Salomon and Cherubini.
Both sets of works on this disc are transcriptions of works for
other instruments; the Nocturnes
are thought to have been
based on the Trois divertissements pour le violoncello
were first published in 1818, while the Serenades
originally written for two violins from 1802-1804. These Serenades
in numerous different instrumental versions, demonstrating Viotti’s
reputation and the large demand for his music. Although the majority
of his compositional output was for violin, he was interested
in creating repertoire for chamber music ensembles of all kinds
and often even included instructional commentaries with his music.
are a charming set of three pieces, which
are somewhat surprising in style; much of the material is moderately
paced, with variations on the melody lines and lyrical minor
key sections. Stylistically this music is far removed from the
classicism of his contemporary Mozart, and it lacks the ‘salon
music’ style of later composers such as Doppler. An influence
of Beethoven and Schubert is evident, and the flute writing is
perhaps closer to that of Kuhlau. His melody lines are lyrical
and well phrased, and there is a level of concentration in his
writing which means it possesses a musical depth while retaining
a lightness of character.
retain the charm of the Nocturnes
with some wonderfully evocative writing - for example, the waltzing Minuetto
ends the first Serenade
has something in style of an early Petrushka
with a gentle hint of a fairground. The brief but grandiose fanfare
moments demand attention, and there is a sense of drama in the
music, perhaps even something operatic; the emotions are strong,
no matter whether they are expressed in an expressive slow melody,
a light-hearted minuet or a brooding Andante.
Each of the Serenades
is written with several short movements,
which allow for contrasts in mood and help to keep the music
fresh. Charismatic and well constructed, there is much for the
performer to convey, and Carbotta and Bazaretti do an excellent
job here. An evenly matched duo, the pair is sympathetic towards
the other part, balancing well and allowing each other to take
centre stage where appropriate. They seem to have an affinity
with the music they are playing and approach it with enthusiasm.
This is an interesting disc of some unusual repertoire, which
is enjoyable to listen to.