Saverio MERCADANTE (1795-1870)
Concerto in E minor for flute and orchestra [19:49]
Albert Franz DOPPLER (1821-1883)
Andante and Rondo Op.25 for two flutes and piano (transcribed for chamber orchestra by Adrianne Greenbaum) [10:19]¹
Duetto hongrois Op.36 for two flutes and piano (transcribed for chamber orchestra by Marzena Diakun) [8:27]¹
Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909)
Serenade for Strings Op.2 (1897) [22:45] ²
Łukasz Długosz (flute: Mercadante)
Agata Kielar-Długosz (flute: Doppler)
Elbląg Chamber Orchestra/Marzena Diakun, Marcin Sompoliński (Karlowicz)
rec. September and November 2011, Kazimierz Music School in Elbląg
DUX 0868 [61:24]
This is a ‘Flutes ‘n’ Young Karłowicz’ disc and, as such, unlikely to be one viewed in the conventional programming way. Who could have imagined that roping together Mercadante, Doppler and Karłowicz would form an easy alliance? All the more so, in fact, as two of the works, those by Doppler, are heard in transcriptions for chamber orchestra. So, a weird line-up and inauthentic to boot! Yet, in a perverse kind of way, I rather admire the bizarre nature of it, the fact that it doesn’t pretend to make any kind of sense.
Mercadante’s Concerto is in drag. It’s really an operatic vocalise, dished up for flute in typical coloratura fashion, a virtuoso piece of chicanery - and very enjoyable. Łukasz Długosz is the intrepid Pied Piper, spinning arias of scandalous richness and lyricism, adorned with operatic fillips and asides, motored with powerful élan. You need to be a charismatic and technically adroit soloist fully to do justice to the instrumental writing; so too because Mercadante is so associated with operatic music that you need to be a shape shifter to convey the female vocalism inherent in the flute writing. The dramatic recitative-like start of the central movement is followed by gentle and soothing cantilena, and the finale, à la Russe, is in popular vein - with the flute leading the dance with unalloyed pleasure. Something of a test of breath control, here, which Długosz duly passes.
For Doppler’s two pieces he is joined by his flautist wife Agata Kielar-Długosz. The Andante and Rondo form an obviously contrasting pair and in this bulked-up chamber orchestra version convey plenty of charm, in the former case, and feistier excitement in the latter. Doppler is most famous for his orchestration of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies. The Duettino hongrois, transcribed by conductor Marzena Diakun, has something of this excitement, though operating on a far lower level of characterization.
Karłowicz’s Serenade is a very early work, an apprentice piece in fact. It’s conducted not by Diakun but by Marcin Sompoliński. It’s always good to hear this charming piece again, with its quotient of Pyotr Ilyich, and the antique wit of its finale. It could have done with richer characterisation and phrasing in this performance.
Jonathan Woolf
I rather admire the bizarre nature of this collection.