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Franz (1821-1883) & Carl (1826-1900) DOPPLER
The Complete Flute Music - Volume 6
Valse di Bravura, Op. 33 (F&C) [10:17]
Chanson d’amour. Air Varié, Op. 20 (F) [9 :03]
Das Waldvöglein (L’oiseau des bois). Idylle, Op. 21 (F) [5 :37]
Morceaux favoris sur Der Freischütz opéra de C.M. von Weber (F)(WPR) [8:19]
Potpourri sur Bánk-Bán opéra hongroise de F. Erkel (C) (WPR) [16 :07]
Duo sur La Muette de Portici opéra de D.F.E. Aubert (F) (WPR) [9 :05]
Moderato (F) (WPR) [1:00]
Fantaisie sur des motifs hongrois (C) (WPR) [10 :35]
Claudi Arimany (flute)
Barcino Horn Quartet
Orquesta Sinfónica Ciudad de Elche/L. Martínez
rec. Catalonia, 2007-2016
CAPRICCIO C5300 [70:03]

The Doppler brothers were hugely popular in their own time. Chiefly remembered for their virtuosic music and arrangements for the flute, some of their works are still occasionally performed today. However, they were prolific composers in their own right, especially Franz, who composed seven operas and fifteen ballets in addition to the flute music he wrote in collaboration with his brother Carl. This collaboration was astonishingly fruitful, producing some 90 works between them, either for two flutes, flutes and piano, flute and orchestra, and several other combinations.

Interestingly, in this series “Carl” is spelt with “C”, although one usually comes across his name as “Karl”, in the more Germanic fashion. Since they came from the Austrian Empire and having Polish and Hungarian versions of their names as well, spelling his name with “C” might be a reasonable decision – provided it has been made on purpose. To avoid confusion, in the following I will stick to writing his name with “C”.

Born in Lemberg in Austria-Hungary (Lviv in today’s Ukraine) in 1821 and 1826, the brothers were child prodigies and soon known across Europe for their mastery of the flute – they caused quite a stir in London, Paris and other major cities. Being left-handed, Carl’s playing the flute on reverse added a special optical effect to the duo’s concerts. To cater for their needs, they soon started adapting famous works for (two) flutes for their own performances. These adaptations were, however, also in high demand by other flautists all across the continent. Having played in the orchestra of the German Theatre in Budapest during their teens (Franz as first flautist), they became members of the Hungarian National Theatre shortly afterwards and helped found the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra in 1853. Not stopping there, Franz ventured into orchestral music as well, arranging six of Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies and composing several operas, five of which were premiered at the Hungarian National Theatre. Though not as prolific as his elder brother, Carl also composed some operas, a collection of Hungarian folk songs, ballet music and pieces for the flute.

This CD is the sixth in a series of 10 volumes, and contains some of their most popular pieces, like the Valse di Bravura. L’oiseau des bois – the wood bird – for example, is a showpiece par excellence and suits the needs of flute virtuosity very well. This recording gives a good overview over the different genres (opera adaptations, compositions, variations on folk tunes) that the Dopplers specialized in and came to be best known and loved for. La Orquesta Sinfónica Ciudad de Elche (or in Valencian La Orquesta Sinfónica Ciutat d'Elx) under L. Martínez gives a flawless rendering and enhances the quality of Claudi Arimany’s playing, who is a master of his instrument. Born in Barcelona, he is one of the leading Catalan soloists and not unfamiliar with the Dopplers: His previous recordings include a 3 CD set of their flute music, Franz & Carl Doppler Vol. I-III. No doubt, his playing is a great win for this recording, albeit the three other flautists featuring on this CD execute their tasks formidable as well.

The booklet comes in English only and gives thorough information on the pieces on this disc. It also contains some essays along with an excerpt (part 6 of 9) from Franz Doppler’s Records from my Life and Work, the other parts of which can be found in the respective booklets of the other CDs in this series. Well worth mentioning is the register of the brothers’ extensive list of compositions for the flute, which can be found right at the beginning.

All in all, this is a very good release and if the other CDs in this series are up to the same standards, it is worth considering acquiring the whole set. Although having the complete flute music in this compilation is a great achievement, this should only be the first step in making their complete output available. A lot of research will still be needed, but it would be marvellous if at some point the other works, especially the operas and ballets by Franz Doppler, were to be unearthed and recorded as well. This might then add a new zest to the rediscovery and reception of the Doppler brothers – surely something worthwhile.

Maximilian Burgdörfer


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