Franz DOPPLER (1821-1883) & Karl DOPPLER (1825-1900)
Fantasie sur des motifs hongrois Op 35 [10:58]
Souvenir de Prague Op 24 [11:44]
Valse di bravura Op 33 [10:19]
Duettino sur des motifs hongrois Op 36 [7:24]
Andante et Rondo Op 25 [8:27]
Concert-Paraphrase sur des motifs de l’opéra Die Verschworenen de Franz Schubert [8:00]
Souvenir à Mme Adelina Patti - Paraphrase sur des motifs de La Sonnambula de Vincenzo Bellini Op 42 [7:10]
Claudi Arimany and Shigenori Kudo (flutes); Alan Branch (piano)
rec. 16-18 October 2007, l’Auditori Josep Carreras, Vilaseca, Tarragona
SAPHIR LVC 1119 [73:33]
This is announced as Volume 1 of recordings of the flute music of the Doppler brothers. Their name may be vaguely familiar to you - Franz orchestrated several of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies and wrote a Fantasie Pastorale Hongroise which virtuoso flautists cannot resist. (But I should point out that as far as I know the “Doppler effect” is nothing to do with them!). The brothers were both born in Lemberg; today the city of Lviv in the Ukraine but at that time in the Austrian province of Galicia and Lodomeria. Both were child prodigies on the flute, and when they moved to Budapest in 1838 they rapidly became important figures in Hungarian music as flautists, conductors and composers. Franz is the better known of the two but they wrote many pieces together including four of the seven on this disc. They were written to be played at the concerts they gave together in the 1850s and 1860s and were clearly designed to show off the particular qualities of their playing. Thus throughout this disc we find not only virtuoso figuration but also sections designed to exhibit the quality of their tone. One of their most effective devices in the operatic fantasies is to have one instrument playing the tune while the other executes a quieter but impressively quickly moving accompaniment. This is shown at its best in the “Rigoletto” Fantasie, which is itself probably the best work on the disc. Various motifs from that opera - not always the most obvious ones - are treated in turn in a variety of ways, always interesting in a way that is unusual in operatic fantasies and potpourris of the period.
It is perhaps significant that the other two operatic works are also particularly effective, as are the specifically Hungarian works. The least effective are the Andante et Rondo and the Valse di Bravura, both of which far outstay their welcome, which suggests that the brothers were better when refashioning other music than when producing something wholly original. It is in any event best not to play the disc right through as the various ingenious hurdles set for the players can seem somewhat repetitive. Better to savour and marvel at the pieces one at a time. The flawless playing and beautiful tone of the two flautists and their hard working pianist - often playing a transcription of an orchestral part - can then be enjoyed all the more. Clearly they must have put in a great deal of work to achieve the resulting wonders which are likely to be immensely enjoyable to flautists and non-flautists alike. The recording is clear and the notes, in French and English, give much useful background information. This is said to be Volume 1, although whether it is unclear whether this refers to possible future volumes of the brothers’ music for two flutes or more generally to music of all types by them. Either way this looks like being an interesting and enterprising series.
An interesting and enterprising series.