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Franz DANZI (1763 - 1826)
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra No. 1, Op. 30
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra No. 2, Op. 31
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra No. 3, Op. 42
Concerto for Flute and Orchestra No. 4, Op. 43
Andras Adorjan (flute)
Munich Chamber Orchestra/Hans Stadlmair
Recorded: 1981 (Licensed from Orfeo)
CLASSIC COLLECTION 99875 [73.53]

 

Danzi's father was a cellist and as a teenager, Danzi played the cello in the Palatinate court orchestra at Mannheim. He remained there when the Electoral court moved to Munich. However, in 1778 he went on to succeed his father as cellist in the court orchestra in Munich. A prolific composer, he wrote chamber music, orchestral music and as well as music for the stage. His career as a composer continued in Munich with the performances of his third German opera and he eventually went on to write some eighteen stage works. He married a singer and continued an active career in the opera house, leading eventually to his appointment as deputy Kapellmeister in Munich in 1798. He returned to Mannheim after his wife's death and went on to become Kapellmeister in Stuttgart. Here he met the young Weber and had a stabilising effect on the rather irresponsible young man. This, of course, has led commentators to try and spot the older man's influence on the younger. In 1812 he moved to Karlsruhe where he was able to stage operas by Weber. And in 1817 his singspiel 'Turandot' received its first performance there.

Danzi was evidently a charming man and a fine craftsman. His music reflects these qualities. Charming and civilised, it makes up for what it lacks in depth with a winning melodiousness. This well filled disc contains all of Danzi's Flute concerti in recordings originally issued on the Orfeo label in the 1980s. It remains the only recordings of these works in the catalogue, though James Galway has recorded the Opus 31 work (on a disc coupled with concertante pieces by Danzi for clarinet).

The first two concerti both date from around 1806 and the basic style is late eighteenth century classicism. But the second concerto contains strong hints of Romanticism in its orchestration particularly in the lyrical slow movement with its two horns contrasting with the solo flute part. The last movement is a lively Polacca, a form that was rather favoured by Weber. The remaining two concerti date from around 1814. They represent mature Danzi and are more strongly romantic in style. The third concerto opens with a long introduction with plenty of orchestral moments reminiscent of Weber. The slow movement contrasts the limpid flute part with punctuating wind chords. The fourth concerto opens with a wonderfully romantic slow introduction that is only let down by the rather uninteresting figuration in the flute parts. The middle movement is a charming piece for flute and a concertante group of strings. This makes a fine contrast to the finale which adds the surprise of brass instruments.

The flautist, Andras Adorjan, is a fine player and has no trouble with the sometimes demanding writing. Unfortunately the flute part, particularly in the earlier concertos, is apt to rely too much on scales, passage work and arpeggios. Even in the later concertos, much of the interest comes from the orchestra.

The orchestra, playing on modern instruments, give a fine account of these works. Hans Stadlmair paces the movements well and Adorjan rarely sounds rushed. Despite the use of modern instruments, Stadlmair creates a welcome transparency in the orchestration, allowing us to relish what is Danzi’s best feature in these works.

Whilst each concerto would be charming in a mixed concert, at one sitting they do rather outstay their welcome, as Danzi’s musical invention can wear thin. One longs for the odd imaginative touch to develop in the way of Weber's concertante works. But, this is an excellent CD just to dip into.

Robert Hugill

 



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