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A.H. SCHULTZEN (Andreas Heinrich SCHULTZE) (1681-1742) Recorder Sonatas Andreas Heinrich SCHULTZE (attr)
Sonata III for recorder and bc in d minor [07:12]
Sonata IV for recorder and bc in G [07:02] anon
Sonata IV for viola da gamba and bc in a minor* [08:20] Andreas Heinrich SCHULTZE (attr)
Sonata VI for recorder and bc in d minor [08:48] anon
Sonata II for viola da gamba and bc in e minor** [08:10] Andreas Heinrich SCHULTZE (attr)
Sonata I for recorder and bc in d minor [07:21] anon
Sonata I for viola da gamba and bc in G* [07:50] Andreas Heinrich SCHULTZE (attr)
Sonata II for recorder and bc in g minor [07:03]
Sonata V for recorder and bc in B flat [08:30]
Barbara Heindlmeier (recorder)
Ensemble La Ninfea ((Christian Heim (solo*), Marthe Perl (solo**) (viola da gamba), Simon Linné (lute, theorbo), Andreas Küppers (harpsichord, organ))
rec. 27-29 January 2014, studio of Radio Bremen, Germany. DDD RAUMKLANG RK3402 [70:33]
It is very likely that you have never heard the name of Andreas Heinrich Schultze. His name - as 'A.H. Schultzen' - appears as the composer on a manuscript which includes six sonatas for recorder and basso continuo. It is preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. The collection is also included in the 1737 catalogue of the Amsterdam music printer Roger. It was mentioned in 1704 in a book by a French author which gives some indication of the time these sonatas were written. Whereas the sonatas were known the identity of the composer remained a mystery. In the liner-notes to the present disc Barbara Heindlmeier writes that "[our] own research has brought us to the conclusion that the mysterious A.H. Schultzen is probably Andreas Heinrich Schultze. A certain 'A. Schultsen' is mentioned in Zedlers Universallexikon (1732-1754) and Walthers Musikalisches Lexikon (1732) as an author of two collections of sonatas: the six sonatas for recorder that appear on this recording, and six more for oboe, which have presumably been lost". In his dictionary Johann Gottfried Walther includes some information about Schultze: he was born in Braunschweig in 1681 and was organist in Hildesheim from 1706 onwards.
Recorder sonatas were usually written for amateurs. Schultze's sonatas are different: they are technically demanding and likely well beyond the capabilities of the amateurs of those days. In an article in the American Recorder Magazine in 2001 Patricio Portell assumed that this set was the earliest collection of sonatas published with the professional recorder player in mind. That said, it is obviously hard to establish exactly how skilled the amateurs of the early 18th century were. We certainly shouldn't underestimate their technical capabilities.
The sonatas are a mixture of German and Italian elements, as Ms Heindlmeier observes. She points out the equality between the recorder and the bass part, "making them equal partners, as in a duet". "The noticeable individuality of the different sections in terms of their compositional style and variety of affects lends each sonata a distinctive air". The Sonata I in d minor opens with an adagio of an improvisatory character which closes with a passage with strong chromaticism. The Sonata II in g minor includes a largo in the form of a chaconne; the closing allegro has the rhythm of a gigue. The second movement of the Sonata III in d minor is a presto of theatrical character which is followed by a grave with chromaticism. The Sonata V in B flat opens with an improvisatory passage for the bass, followed by a similar episode for the recorder. The same happens in the expressive third movement (largo). The Sonata VI in d minor is the most virtuosic of the set. That is especially true for the second movement (un poco presto) which follows the first attacca, lending the piece a strong theatrical air. The following adagio is quite expressive and the sonata closes with an allegro which is dominated by imitation between recorder and bass.
Historically there are quite some similarities between the recorder and the viola da gamba. They were both used as consort instruments in the renaissance and then gained a status as solo instruments in the 17th century. In the early decades of the 18th century it was not only the recorder which gradually fell out of grace, the same happened to the viola da gamba. Whereas the recorder was replaced by the transverse flute, the viol had to give way to the cello. The anonymous sonatas which are included in this recording are part of the family music library which Princess Louisa Frederica, daughter of Friedrich Ludwig, the crown prince of Württemberg, brought with her when she moved to Mecklenburg-Schwerin to marry its future Duke, Frederick II, in 1746. They probably date from the early 18th century. They show the influence of the Italian style and are modelled after the Corellian sonata da chiesa. They are technically demanding, for instance in the frequent use of double-stopping.
This is a disc of major importance. Firstly, all the sonatas on this disc are recorded for the first time. Considering that the solo repertoire for recorder is not that large these six sonatas by Schultze have to be considered an important addition to the repertoire. As they are of excellent quality and technically challenging they should be part of the standard repertoire of recorder players. The viola da gamba sonatas are of the same standard; unfortunately they are not recorded complete here. I hope that the remaining sonatas will be recorded some day. The present performers deliver outstanding performances which fully explore the features of these works. Barbara Heindlmeier, Christian Heim and Marthe Perl - the latter two share the solo parts in the gamba sonatas - are outstanding performers and receive fine support from the continuo ensemble. The mixture of music for recorder and for viola da gamba works quite well. It lends this disc a good amount of variety and there is still much consistency as stylistically there is quite some similarity between these two collections. One doesn't need to be a recorder or viola da gamba aficionado to greatly enjoy this disc.