Flute Concertos

Author: 
Stanley Sadie

Flute Concertos

  • Sinfonia Concertante
  • Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
  • Orfeo ed Euridice, Ballet in D minor (Dance of the Blessed Spirits): (flute solo)
  • Concerto for Flute and Orchestra

Doubts about the pedigree of much of the music on this disc need not interfere with the pleasure of listening to it. The one certainly authentic work among the concertos is Cimarosa's, a very enjoyable piece; the composer's operatic vein comes out strongly in the appealing and shapely lines of the central Largo, which is preceded by a lightly symphonic Allegro and followed by a delightful 6/8 Rondo. The charm of the work is happily caught in this performance, with its neat and graceful dialogues between the flutes and its elegant virtuosity. The concerto ascribed to Gluck bears none of his obvious fingerprints, but it sounds plausibly like a south European work of the 1740s or thereabouts with its slightly plodding early galant manner and its tendency to rely on sequences; but there is a pleasant minuet-rhythm finale which is quite spirited. Peter-Lukas Graf plays it all very tastefully, though I must say I wouldn't have minded a lapse or two of taste for a spark more of imagination in the quick movements or expressiveness in the Adagio. In the Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Orphee (not Orfeo, as the booklet says: the famous flute solo was an afterthought, for the Paris version), Graf plays more expressively but the effect is too heavily sustained: listen to it once on period instruments and you will see the quite different kind of sound and effect Gluck was aiming at.
Finally the 'Boccherini': this concerto has long been known to be unauthentic and in fact by F. X. Pokorny—imagine him misspelt Pokoriny and you will see why they were sometimes confused (the anonymous booklet annotator should have picked this up: it is all in the standard Boccherini catalogue by Yves Gerard). In any case, the concerto sounds nothing like Boccherini; but it is an agreeable early classical middle-European piece, cheerful and robust in manner, and with a catchy tune in the finale that can almost bear the amount of repetition Pokorny indulges in. Graf again plays very cleanly, with a well-focused tone and all due agility. Good, tidy orchestral playing, and a clear recording.'

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