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Ignaz HOLZBAUER (1711-1783)
Flute concertos: D major [14:16]; E minor [18:30]; A major [15:37]; D major [13:05]
Karl Kaiser (flute); La Stagione Frankfurt
rec. 6-8 Feb 2008, Deutschlandfunk Kammermusiksaal. DDD
CPO 777 358-2 [61:45]
Experience Classicsonline

Ignaz Holzbauer was involved in the Mannheim School in the early classical era, working alongside its founder, Johann Stamitz. Holzbauer grew up in Vienna and studied in Venice with Vivaldi, Lotti and others. By 1748 he was appointed as composer at the Burgtheater in Vienna and his works were also performed beyond Vienna, allowing him to make a name for himself as a composer. He eventually took on the post of musical director at the court of Prince Elector Karl Theodor of the Palatine in Mannheim and was involved in the forging of the Mannheim orchestral style. He was known primarily as an opera composer, and his works received praise from Mozart and others.

His flute concertos are thought to have been composed in Mannheim in the 1770s. At the time the flute was a popular instrument, played by many dignitaries, including the Prince Elector, who may even have performed these concertos himself. Johann Baptiste Wendling was the flute player in the court at the time, one of the most well-known flute players at the time, who played in the Mannheim Orchestra and travelled around Europe giving concerts.

These are elegant and charming works which follow traditional three movement form. Holzbauer’s style combines Italian and German influences and demonstrates features of the Mannheim orchestral style, such as unisons and rising sequences. His fast movements are bright and sparkling, while the slow movements are lyrical and well phrased. The central movement of the E minor concerto is a particular favourite, with its dark opening and well shaped melodic lines.

The opening movement of the A major concerto features scotch snap rhythms, giving a jaunty angular feature to the lines. The slow movement is expressive, with triplet movement giving direction to the bass line and a well-realized harpsichord part adding colour. The triplet motif carries through into the final movement, allowing the music to flow with a sense of lightness.

The final concerto of the set, in D major, reminded me stylistically of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, who was a flute player/composer and a contemporary of Holzbauer’s.

Karl Kaiser’s playing, on a period instrument, is extremely enjoyable and well controlled, making light of the technical demands and demonstrating even fingerwork. The orchestra has a bright and balanced sound, which complements the solo sound very well.

Carla Rees 






















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