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The Dawn of Romanticism
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Serenade for flute and piano (arr. Kleinheinz from the Serenade for flute, violin, and viola, Op. 25), Op. 41 (1802) [24:12]
Flute Sonata in B flat, WoO A4 (1790) [23:33]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Variations on “Trockne blumen,” D802 (1824) [19:29]
Juliette Hurel (flute); Hélène Couvert (piano)
rec. May 2013, somewhere in France
NAÏVE V5342 [67:15]

Flautist Juliette Hurel zooms in here on the point where classical and romantic blend and blur.
 
Works by the young Beethoven combine with Schubert’s “Trockne blumen” variations (loved by flute players everywhere) in a programme that looks forward and back. The Beethoven serenade reminds me of composers like Haydn, yes, but also of light music and even circus music from the 1800s. The first variation from Schubert’s piece has a lot in common with the virtuoso arias of Rossini, Donizetti and the young Verdi, while the second variation is only a degree removed from a Beethoven piano sonata.
 
Even if you don’t want to play the “what else does this sound like?” game, the music is as constantly appealing as you’d expect from these composers and performers. No, this Beethoven is not always recognizable as the genius of later years, though there are glimpses. However this is a constantly pleasing hour, and as Juliette Hurel has shown time and again on Naïve, she’s a wonderfully graceful flautist. Her playing can be stark, too, when it’s called for in the dark intro of the Schubert piece. Hélène Couvert has an awful lot of work to do at the (modern) piano, and does it very well. I feel like I’d enjoy a solo Schubert album from her. The rapport is unquestionable; these women have been playing together for two decades.
 
I’m sorry to be so brief, but there’s not much to say. If you’re interested in this repertoire, you should be interested in this disc. If you’re not interested in this repertoire, you clicked the wrong review.
 
Brian Reinhart