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Joachim ANDERSEN (1847-1909)
Works for flute and piano

Au Bord de la Mer, Op. 9
Six Morceaux de Salon, en deux Suites, Op. 24 (1891)
Deuxième Impromptu Op. 54
Fünf leichtere Stücke, Op. 56
Quatre Morceaux de Salon, Op. 51 (1894)
Thomas Jensen (flute)
Frode Stengaard (piano)
Recorded at the Royal Academy of Music, Aarhus, Denmark, undated

Famed for his flute etudes the Danish virtuoso flautist and conductor Joachim Andersen was a founding member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. In time he became assistant conductor to Nikisch. After eleven years there, working under the most eminent musicians of the day, he returned to Copenhagen to conduct the Tivoli Orchestra. There he pursued a major role in the musical life of his country, raising standards and, apparently, proving a tough customer into the bargain.

As well as the etudes that have kept alive his name he wrote dozens of morceaux and many of the daintiest are here. Invariably well crafted and idiomatically written they are delightfully spry and worth a listen. Au Bord de la Mer is one that, whilst fluent, evinces a wider sense of influence than the Mendelssohn-Grieg axis around which most are written. One of the most sheerly delightful, in lyric terms, is the Chant Pastoral from Six Morceaux de Salon though even that vies for charm with the Alla Mazurka from the First Suite. There are distinct technical challenges – the Babillard from the Second Suite tests breath control and then some – but they are in the main leisurely genre pieces for relaxing listening. The Deuxième Impromptu is appositely Francophile and the third of the Fünf leichtere Stücke seems to have lent an ear to Dvořák. One that most took my fancy was a pictorial and proto-filmic Abendlied from the same set of five – well worth a revival this, as it’s delightful.

Nothing too taxing then, but none of these pieces aim for that. They’re compact, crafted and lyric, Mendelssohnian and possessed of charm. Flautists should certainly look to add a few to their repertoires, and all can listen with pleasure to the splendid sound and performances.

Jonathan Woolf

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