Franz Anton HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812)
Flute Concerto no.24 in D (1795) [30:19]
Flute Concerto no.21 in D (1788) [26:32]
Bruno Meier (flute)
Prague Chamber Orchestra
rec. Domovina Studio, Prague, 4-5 October 2011.
NAXOS 8.572738 [57:17]
There is no misprint: these really are Franz Hoffmeister's 21st and 24th Flute Concertos, and they are moreover half an hour long apiece. German Hoffmeister was one of the seemingly countless truly prolific composers of the eighteenth century, and the 25 solo Flute Concertos - there are three more double concertos involving the flute - are among around sixty he wrote for various instruments. His two Viola Concertos appeared last year on the last Naxos Hoffmeister release (see review), the third of four to date. See also a review of his Double Bass Quartets.
Though Hoffmeister's music was widely admired in his lifetime, he himself paid as much attention to his music publishing business as to composition, and always had one eye on the hobbyist market. So it is that the Concertos are quite conventional: from their 'safe' D major tonality and archetypal fast-slow-fast structure to their elegant tunefulness, they reflect their creator's canny craftsmanship rather than the hand of artistic genius. That is not to say they are ever dull. In fact, there is much to admire, and fans of the flute and the Classical orchestra will pass many an uplifting, mellifluent hour, especially in the good company of Swiss flautist Bruno Meier and the dependable Prague Chamber Orchestra (PCO). Meier's gold flute has an appropriately luxurious tone, and although Hoffmeister's music does not quite demand "extreme virtuosity" or "place severe technical demands on the soloist" as the notes claim, he has no easy ride either. Yet he flutters and cruises gracefully along like a sunlit fritillary on a summer breeze. The PCO have appeared several times before on Naxos, most usually performing Jiří (Georg) Benda, so they are au fait with the intermediate demands of this kind of music.
Sound quality is pretty good. The CD booklet is the usual Naxos effort - slim-but-informative, the notes by Stephan Hörner imparting the most significant biographical and musical detail. The disc is available in Germany with the catalogue number 8.551292 and a subtly different cover. The CD running-time is however equally ungenerous all over the world - it seems very likely that a third concerto would have squeezed on. Naxos promise more to come in this series.
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Flutters and cruises gracefully along like a sunlit fritillary on a summer breeze.
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