The Elephant and the Fly
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Duo No. 1 in C WoO 27 [2:28]
J.S. BACH (1685-1750)
Bourée I & II from Suite No. 3 in C BWV 1009 [3:23]
Chick COREA (b.1941)
Trio for flute, bassoon and piano [5:47]
Kenny G (b.1956)
Esther [5:39], Wedding Song [2:10]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 - 1848)
Trio in F for flute, bassoon and piano [11:56]
Franz von SUPPE (1819-1895)
Idyll “il primo amore” [5:05]
Johann Wilhelm GANGLBERGER (1876 - 1938)
Konzertidyll “tirili” [5:19] My Teddybear [5:39]
Henri KLING (1842-1918)
The Elephant and the Fly [6:03]
Rudolf Huber (flute); Wolfgang Kuttner (bassoon); Otto Probst (piano); Ulrike Mattanovich (harp); Oskar Moser (double-bass)
rec. 2008, Kanzi’s Soundstudio/Gerhard Kanzian, Vienna
VMS 203 [62:52]

This is a wide-ranging disc of arrangements and original works for flute and bassoon. In the opening Beethoven Duo, the flute and bassoon are accompanied by piano in an arrangement by G Göhler. The three movement work represents the classical era with the flute and bassoon parts sharing equal importance, although the piano part adds a somewhat unnecessary weight, doubling many of the solo lines and sometimes drowning out the bassoon in the bass lines. This is an enjoyable work, played with nice phrasing and a good sense of line.

An arrangement of a pair of Bach Bourées follows, for bassoon with harp and double-bass. The somewhat unusual accompaniment gives a modern feel to the work which initially took me by surprise. The Chick Corea Trio for flute, bassoon and piano which follows is more successful. A biting contemporary jazz style suits these instruments well and this short piece is highly enjoyable.

The true variety of this disc is epitomized by the inclusion of two tracks by middle of the road saxophonist Kenny G. Although the musical substance is simple, these arrangements work well, and the bassoon is particularly convincing.

Donizetti’s Trio returns us to a more traditional style; this is a charming but unremarkable work. Franz von Suppé’s Idyll for flute is a typical romantic salon work, based on a lyrical melody with a set of virtuoso treatments. Gangelberger’s Tirili is a humorous work, using piccolo, bassoon and piano, with some unexpected additional sounds. My Teddy Bear features the bassoon and is shot through with a similar sense of light amusement. The final work on the disc is Kling’s The Elephant and the Fly for piccolo and bassoon, with a gently undulating piano accompaniment. This is a delightful piece, full of humour and the instruments are given wonderfully evocative characters.

This is highly entertaining. The playing is of a consistent standard throughout, and though there are a few production issues - I thought I spotted some distortion on one of the tracks and the final track seemed to have more reverb than the others - there is much to enjoy. I particularly enjoyed the more frivolous works at the end of the disc, which have a wonderful sense of character and light-hearted fun.

Carla Rees