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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    




Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784)
Flute Concerto in D (>1744) (20.17)
Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Flute Concerto in D, Wq. 13a (1744) (18.25)
Leopold HOFMANN (1738-1793)
Flute Concerto in D (17??) (16.34)
Christian Gurtner, [wood] transverse flute
Wiener Akademie/Martin Haselböck
Booklet in German, English, and French,
Recorded Hofburgkapelle, Hofburg, Vienna, November, 2001, and February, 2002.
CPO CD 999 888-2 [55.38]



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These recordings are from the Berlin Sing-Akademie Archive, looted by the Soviet Army in 1945 and recently (1999) discovered intact in Kiev, Ukraine, by Bach scholar Christoph Wolff. CPO plan a series of recordings of more of the unique music from this collection, which has now been restored to Berlin and will be edited and published by a group of German and Ukrainian musicologists.

Concerted works for flute were very popular in the Berlin of Frederick the Great who played and composed for the flute himself. All these works are in three movements and receive brilliant, committed performances.

This is one of the most satisfying works by W.F.Bach I’ve ever heard. At his best W.F. Bach invokes his father’s dense counterpoint and noble mysticism. He is not at his best often, but here we have one of his finest works. The Sing-Akademie archive contains the only known copy of this work.

Recently I reviewed recordings of the three then known flute concerti by C.P.E. Bach, but this music was then thought to exist only in an arrangement for keyboard (fortepiano?) and orchestra (H. 416). The Singakademie archive contains two copies of the original flute version heard here. Again, this is one of C.P.E. Bach’s finest works.

The mood changes abruptly with the Hofmann concerto. Hofmann was a student of Wagenseil and wrote this work in the ‘modern’ galant style, and adds horns to his orchestra. There is a great deal of swing and swash to this music bringing our concert to a brilliant conclusion

Gurtner plays the wood transverse flute with great lyricism and rich tone. This is not the breathy, feeble flauto traverso you may have heard on other recordings. He does not ornament or embellish his playing as much as other players of this music, however, staying pretty close to the melody notes. The Wiener Akademie play with great vigor and drama, and receive excellent close digital sound recording, with the soloist, horns, and continuo harpsichord prominent.

Paul Shoemaker



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