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
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.