thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded
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Various soloists and ensembles
Some licensed from Challenge Records, Tactus, Edel Records, Orfeo, Naxos USA
rec. 1975-2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95490 [12 CDs: 13 hrs]
This twelve CD set, like all box sets of its kind, cannot include everything; that being said the lack of much nineteenth and twentieth century music is a real shame. However, as a survey of late seventeenth and eighteenth-century flute music this set is a real winner.
The set opens with a disc of the Op. 10 concertos by Vivaldi, a disc I know well as it was included in Brilliant’s recent survey of Vivaldi’s Opp. 1-12 (95200) and here I hold to my earlier thoughts. The opus 10 concertos for flute and strings were, along with the concertos for lute and mandolin, a mainstay of my teenage years, I much preferred them to the ever present Four Seasons, and subsequently I have listened to a number of fine recordings. Recently I have been enjoying Matthias Naute’s fine recording on Bridge (BRIDGE 9377), which is mainly performed on a recorder and whilst this may not be to everyone’s taste, the performance is excellent; if it is a version of flute you are looking for, the present recording featured in this set with Mario Folena, is first rate.
The second Disc presents two concertos, two sonatas, a trio sonata and a symphony by the German composer Carl Friedrich Abel, who spent time in London as musician to Queen Charlotte. I came to know Abel’s music through a disc of his chamber music performed by La Stagione on CPO (999 209-2). His music is engaging and typical of the time, elegant without being original. However, Nordic Affect, he has wonderful advocates for his cause, their performance, especially that of Georgia Browne really lifts his music.
Disc three offers concertos by C P E Bach and whilst I have enjoyed his flute concertos this disc came as something of a shock, I put it on without looking at the sleeve and heard something new. Of the three concertos presented here only one, the D minor Wq22 was actually composed for flute, the other two concertos starting their lives as concertos for oboe. Whilst the arrangement is interesting, I still think they sound better in the original format. The performance is good; Machiko Takahashi is a fine flautist, but the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra sound a little heavier than I am used to.
Disc four is a real bonus for me, I have a re-issue of Alessandro Scarlatti’s Sinfonie di Concerto Grosso – Opere per flauto e continuo on the Tactus label (TB 661990), and this was a companion recording; I have been hoping that Tactus would also release this recording in their ‘Serie Bianca’. This is a really excellent recording, Federico Maria Sardelli excels on both the recorder and baroque flute, as does Ugo Galasso, and they are very well supported by the period ensemble Modo Antiquo. I have always thought that Alessandro was a far more accomplished and interesting composer than his son, Domenico Scarlatti, and this disc only serves to strengthen this view.
The music on disc five really needs no introduction, the flue concertos and Andante in C K315 by Mozart have long been popular, and are probably the best-known music in the set. Sadly, my favourite Mozart flute concerto, the C Major for Flute and Harp is not included, which is a shame, as there would have been enough room on the disc, just. The recording is big and bold and of its age, this is the earliest recording included in the set, with Johannes Walter and the Staatskapelle Dresden on excellent form, but again as with the C P E Bach the sound is just too big, I much prefer smaller period ensembles in these works.
Franz Benda was from 1732 in the service of the flute playing Frederick the Great, a position he would remain in for the rest of his life, and disc six presents three of his four remaining flute concertos. It is a great shame that the G Major concerto was not included on this recording, as it could have been included with time to spare, although the E minor concerto stands out from the rest, especially in performances as good as these.
Iin the Benda, András Adorján was the flautist and he is one of only two flautists to appear on two discs, as he also features on the following disc in the music of Franz Danzi. The four concertos presented on this well filled disc represent his complete works for flute and orchestra, with the D minor showing the composers indebtedness to Mozart there being a clear link between the Danzi and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 which is in the same key. The performance is just as good as the previous disc despite the different ensembles.
The eighth disc presents music by two composers, Franz Anton Hoffmeister and Antonio Rosetti. Despite the fact that Franz Anton Hoffmeister composed more than fifty symphonies and over twenty five flute concertos, it is purely through his string quartets that I know his music. This is music that shows the influence not only of Haydn, but also Mozart, and even if it lacks some degree of originality, it is still enjoyable and makes you want to hear more, with the slow movement being especially fine. The Bohemian Composer Franz Anton Rösler changed his name to Francesco Antonio Rosetti in 1773, and is best known for his horn concertos. So much so, that despite composing over a dozen flute concertos they hardly feature in the catalogues of recorded music. If anything, they are more interesting than those by Hoffmeister, especially the G Major which opens with a drone like effect. The Hungarian flautist, János Szbenyi is in fine form as are the two Hungarian ensembles that back him.
Disc nine is dedicated to the German Johann Joachim Quantz, and features four of his numerous flute concertos; he composed over three hundred, many of which were also composed for Frederick the Great, who he served as musician and composer. This is a disc originally released on Naxos (8.573120), and one that I have long enjoyed. The playing of Mary Oleskiewicz on baroque flute along with the period ensemble, Concerto Armonico, and Miklós Spányi leading from the harpsichord sounds perfect in this music.
Discs ten and eleven both feature the flautist Patrick Gallois, with the first of these presenting the music of French composer and one of the founders as well as Professor of Flute at the Paris Conservatoire, François Devienne. This disc is one of three that Gallois has recorded for Naxos (8.573230, 8.573464, 8.573465), with his performances being peerless. Devienne was one of the most important composers of wind music of the second half of the eighteenth century. His music is bright and shows a degree of individuality, with this disc making me want to go out and invest in the other Naxos discs.
The performance of Patrick Gallois on the eleventh disc, where he performs the music of Saverio Mercadante, is a disc I have enjoyed in its original issue for a few years now (8.572731), after a recommendation by a flautist friend. He was a ground-breaking composer who was admired by his Italian compatriots Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi. However, during his student days he also composed seven flute concertos. These are charming works, the music being almost operatic in character, especially the Rondo russo of the Concerto No. 2 in E minor. Here Gallois also conducts the Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä, the result being one of the highlights of the whole set.
The twelfth and final disc is something unusual here in that it presents music by two composers I don’t know. The first of these is Jean Baptiste Édouard Louis Camille Du Puy, a Swiss born singer, violinist, director, composer and teacher. His music is romantic in nature, with the influence of Beethoven especially prevalent in the first movement of his concerto. The second composer is the German flautist and composer Ferdinand Büchner. He is known to have composed at least eight flute concertos of which the first in F minor Op. 38, presented here, is usually regarded as his finest. It is unusual in that it opens more like a big romantic symphony than a concerto; it is nearly three minutes into the first movement before the flute enters, making its entrance all the more striking, especially as the solo instrument then enters into a quasi conversation with the orchestra. Ginevra Petucci’s tone and playing is excellent in both these works.
Despite of its lack of later music this is an excellent set, yes there are instances when I hoped for lighter period performances, but the playing by all the soloists and ensembles alike is excellent, and if I preferred the larger modern sound I would have been happy with the versions presented here. The booklet crams into four pages brief notes of all the composers and the music presented here. This is a very worthwhile set, and one to invest in, as in return it will give hours of enjoyment.
Contents Disc 1 [50:01] Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Flute Concertos (6), Op. 10
Mario Folena (flute) L'Arte dell' Arco Disc 2 [72:56] Carl Friedrich ABEL (1723-1787)
Flute Concerto in G Major, WK 50
Flute Sonata in C Major, WK 123
Trio Sonata in G Major, WK 80
Flute Sonata in E Minor, WK 125
Flute Concerto in E Minor, WK 47
Symphony in C Major, WK 2
Nordic Affect Disc 3 [64:27] Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Oboe Concerto in B flat major, Wq. 164 (H466)
Flute Concerto in D minor, Wq. 22 (H425)
Bach, C P E: Oboe Concerto in E flat major, Wq. 165 (H468)
Machiko Takahashi (flute)
Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra
Roland Kieft Disc 4 [68:08] Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)
Concerto in A
Concerto in C minor
Concerto in A minor
Concerto in D
Concerto in G minor
Concerto in C
Concerto in A minor
Concerto in F
Concerto in A
Federico Maria Sardelli (recorder and baroque flute)
Ugo Galasso (recorder)
Modo Antiquo Disc 5 [52:53] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, K313
Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major, K314
Andante in C K315
Johannes Walter (flute)
Herbert Blomstedt Disc 6 [61:42] Franz BENDA (1709-1786)
Concerto in E minor
Concerto in A
Concerto in A minor
András Adorján (flute)
Ars Rediviva Ensemble Prague
Milan Munclinger Disc 7 [73:56] Franz DANZI (1763-1826)
Concerto No. 1 in G
Concerto No. 2 in D minor
Concerto No. 3 in D minor
Concerto No. 4 in D
András Adorján (flute)
Hans Stadlmair Disc 8 [63:23] Franz Anton HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812)
Flute Concerto No. 18 in D major (GroF 440) Antonio ROSETTI (c. 1750-1792)
Concerto I in G Major, C23 / III:11
Concerto in D Major, C17 / III:16
Janos Szebenyi (flute)
Hungarian Chamber Orchestra
Vilmos Tatrai Disc 9 [77:36] Johann Joachim QUANTZ (1697-1773)
Flute Concerto in A minor, QV 5:238
Flute Concerto in G major, QV 5:165
Flute Concerto in C minor, QV 5:38
Quantz: Flute Concerto in D Minor, QV5:81
Mary Oleskiewicz (flute)
Miklós Spányi Disc 10 [66:42] FrançoisDEVIENNE (1759-1803)
Flute Concerto No. 1 in D major
Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major
Flute Concerto No. 3 in G major
Flute Concerto No. 4 in G major
Swedish Chamber Orchestra
Patrick Gallois (flute/conductor) Disc 11 [57:34] Saverio MERCADANTE (1795-1870)
Concerto No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 57
Concerto No. 4 in G Major
Concerto No. 1 in E Major, Op. 49
Sinfonia Finlandia Jyvaskyla
Patrick Gallois (flute/conductor) Disc 12 [58:46] ÉdouardDU PUY (c. 1770-1822)
Concerto in D Minor FerdinandBÜCHNER (1825-1912)
Concerto in F minor for flute and orchestra
Ginevra Petrucci (flute)
Orchestra i Pomeriggi Musicali
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