Carl Friedrich ABEL (1723-1787)
Music for Flute and Strings
Concerto no.5 in G, for flute, strings and continuo, WK 50 (?c.1758) [16:27]
Sonata in C, for flute and continuo, op.6 no.1, WK 123 (1765) [9:21]
Trio Sonata in G, for flute, violin and continuo, op.3 no.1, WK 80 (1761) [10:28]
Sonata in E minor, for flute and continuo, op.6 no.3, WK 125 (1765) [9:29]
Concerto no.2 in E minor, for flute, strings and continuo, WK 47 (?c.1758) [16:27]
Symphony in C [10:44]
Georgia Browne (transverse flute)
Nordic Affect
rec. Skáholt Cathedral, Iceland, July 2009. DDD
This is the third CD by the Icelandic period instrument chamber ensemble Nordic Affect. Their name may strike the casual browser as a typical 21st-century spelling error, but it comes in fact from "the Baroque practice of trying to communicate certain affects (i.e. the conscious subjective aspect of feeling or emotion) and to inspire different emotional states through the composition and performance of music." Georgia Browne describes herself as a "freelance historical flute player", and has several creditable recordings to her name, including a previous collaboration with Nordic Affect.
In this generously-timed recital, Browne and Nordic Affect deliver a historically faithful, poised and altogether very attractive account of Carl Friedrich Abel's delightful chamber music for flute. Abel is better known for his viola da gamba music and perhaps a few of his forty-plus Symphonies - one of which originally ended up mis-published as Mozart Third, K.18 - with a fair amount of it happily served by recordings. But he was also something of a flautist and wrote up to thirty works for the instrument. Those heard here are beautifully crafted, yet relatively straightforward enough to be played by competent amateurs: an indication of the probable market for these works, a typical route to financial reward in the second half of the 18th century - although as it happens, Abel died before their publication.
As a rule, the faster movements in each case are written in the Galant style that was de rigueur by then, whereas the slow movements sound more 'old-fashioned' in their contrapuntal, almost melancholy Baroque idiom. Every work is defined by an overall mellifluous elegance, typical of early Haydn or the sons of J.S. Bach, that has the capacity to please audiences as much today as it did 250 years ago.
There is no flute in the Symphony in C (which the booklet mistakenly gives as being his op.7 no.1, incidentally), but its inclusion in Nordic Affect's programme is nevertheless very welcome, tempting the listener, as it were, to explore more of Abel's very rewarding corpus of works. The disc is nicely recorded in good quality audio. The English-only booklet notes, supplied by Browne herself, are neat, informative and well written.
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Very welcome … tempts the listener to explore more of Abel's very rewarding music.