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Jeffrey Khaner: German Flute Music
Walter GIESEKING (1895-1956)
Sonatine for Flute [13:30]; Harald
GENZMER (1909-2007) Sonata No. 2 for flute and
piano in E minor (1945) [14:00]; Hans Werner
HENZE (b.1926) Sonatina for flute and piano (1946)
[9:19]; Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Sonata for flute and piano (1936) [13:59]; Sigfrid
KARG-ELERT (1877-1933) Sinfonische Kanzone Op.
114 (1917) [8:40]
Jeffrey Khaner (flute); Charles Abramovic (piano)
rec. 22 November 1999, Curtis Hall, Philadelphia, USA. DDD
AVIE AV2076 [59:36]
This disc of Germany flute music contains some interesting repertoire
by well known composers such as Hindemith and Henze. We also
hear from the perhaps less well known, such as Karg-Elert and
Khaner and Abramovic play the first movement of Gieseking’s
Sonatine with a sense of gentle grace; the playing is
unforced and straightforward, showing the delicate eloquence
of the melodic lines and giving a sense of flow throughout.
The playful central movement has a dancing feel, with repeated
rhythms in the accompaniment at the opening helping to give
character to the music. The music unfolds with a sense of adventure
and a welcome joyful exuberance. The final movement has drive
and energy, with the technical demands easily controlled by
both players, allowing the music to sparkle.
Genzmer’s Sonata No. 2 is written using slightly more
complex language and has resonances of his teacher, Hindemith.
Genzmer was a prolific composer who also worked as a clarinettist
and spent some time as a military bandsman. His music has a
rhythmic precision which seems to change emphasis during long
phrases so that a strong pulse resides throughout. The phrases
have a constant sense of direction and one has the sense here
that the performers have a real understanding of the music,
which communicates well to the listener. The final movement
has a folk-music influence and a lighter character.
Hans Werner Henze is perhaps one of the best known living German
composers. His flute Sonatina was composed in 1946 and
brought Henze’s music to the attention of his publisher, Schott,
with whom he has worked ever since. His music shows the influence
of both Hindemith and the twelve tone system, and there is much
of interest in this short work. The first movement is aggressive
and energetic, while the central movement takes on the mood
of a lullaby, demonstrating Khaner’s sweet and beautifully controlled
quiet playing, with Abramovic playing with equally sensitive
phrasing and a warm sound. The last movement has moments of
rhythmic drive interspersed with more lyrical passages which
use the same rhythmic ideas but with a completely different
character. The poignant ending is particularly enjoyable.
Hindemith is the father of twentieth century German music, and
his Sonata is one of the staples of the flute repertoire.
The first movement serves as a statement of intent, with a warm
sound and defined phrases. The exquisite slow movement is beautifully
played here, with a wonderful range of expression and intensity
from these excellent performers. The third movement has sparkle
and a galloping momentum which remains always in control but
retains its feeling of exhilaration.
Sigfrid Karg-Elert is something of an under-rated composer,
but his music has much to offer. Another former military bandsman,
Karg-Elert had experience of playing the flute and other instruments,
including the organ, for which he also frequently wrote. His
music is often complex, with many harmonic twists, but also
contains the essence of late Romanticism. The Sinfonische
Canzone is a one movement work with a lyrical main theme
and a light and sparkling central section. The extended flute
cadenza is particularly impressive, with evenness of technique
and a beautiful range of tone colours.
This is an excellent disc, with mature performance values from
some first-rate players. I was particularly impressed with the
phrasing and expression; there is a sense of honesty here and
excellent communication of the composer’s intentions. This is
a recording with integrity which deserves to be heard.
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