On this new release by SOMM Recordings Boris Bizjak is joint with internationally acclaimed violinist Lana Trotovšek – and 2015 Wigmore Hall String Quartet Competition winners, the Piatti Quartet.
They come together for revelatory performances of six pieces for flute, violin and string quartet elements by Franz Anton Hoffmeister, all receiving their first recordings. Now overshadowed by his illustrious contemporaries, Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven (music by all whom, including the Diabelli Variations, he published), Hoffmeister was himself a prolific composer in every form.
Although the flute is often placed centre-stage in these six works, all demonstrate Hoffmeister’s eloquently proportioned, life-enhancing and integrated feeling for chamber music.
The two most substantial works here are a taut, dramatically urgent Quartet for flute, violin, viola and cello in C minor, and an E-flat major Quintet for flute, violin, two violas and cello of Mozartian mien and mood.
With echoes of Gluck, Mozart and Haydn, two Trios for flute, violin and cello (in B-flat major and D major) and a Duetto in G major for flute and violin offer superbly expressive examples of Hoffmeister’s music at its most effusive and engagingly virtuosic.
Hailed in his native Slovenia for his “musicality [and] captivating performance”, London-based Boris Bizjak has won several international flute competitions and is in growing demand around the world. Lana Trotovšek, praised by The Washington Post for her “clean, refined tone with musical sense of phrasing and impeccable intonation”, is also a Professor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
The Piatti Quartet – Nathaniel Anderson-Frank and Michael Trainor (violins), Tetsuumi Nagata (viola), Jessie Ann Richardson (cello) – have gained growing recognition for their “ferociously fine form” (BBC Music) and playing of “absolute authority and conviction” (Gramophone).
This recording features two beautiful sonatas from eminent 20th century composers Bohuslav Martinu and Francis Poulenc and two popular virtuoso pieces for flute by Theobald Bohm and Gabriel Faure.
The flute sonata by Francis Poulenc became one of composers best-known works and is a prominent feature in 20th-century flute repertoire. It has a claim to be the most played of any work for flute and piano. Poulenc preferred composing for woodwinds above strings. He premiered the piece with the flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal in June 1957 at the Strasbourg Music Festival. The work was an immediate success, and was quickly taken up in the US, Britain and elsewhere and has been recorded many times. Critics have noted Poulenc's characteristic "trademark bittersweet grace, wit, irony and sentiment" in the piece.
Bohuslav Martinů's Sonata for Flute and Piano, H. 306, was composed in 1945 in South Orleans, Cape Cod, during the composer's five years in the USA following his escape from occupied France. The work was composed for George Laurent who was the principal flute of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1918-1952. It was premiered on 18 December 1949 in New York, with Lois Scheafer as soloist. Although Martinu originally entitled the work as his 'First Sonata for Flute and Piano', no Second Sonata ever appeared.
This recording takes us on a musical journey from the Clearness of Classicism to the “Sehnsucht“ of Romanticism. Geographically it follows an almost vertical line from Salzburg (detour Vienna) to Denmark, and finally back to Munich to the inventor of the modern flute.
The celebrated W.A. Mozart´s Sonata in D major K.448 (originally written for two pianos) is presented here in a version for two flutes and piano, arranged by Marko Zupan (Mozart arrangement and Frøhlich scores will be available for download). The piece is written in a classical sonata form with three movements. The thematic material clear in character, and is typically Mozartian in its Apollonian beauty. It was used in the “Mozart effect“ study with surprising results. Perhaps the overall balance between form and content is the secret behind the “effect”.
As L.van Beethoven's dedication reads, he composed the Duo for 2 flutes in G major, WoO 26 “for friend Degenharth, 23rd August, 12 at night”. It is a delightful composition with a colorful movement in a sonata form,and a minuet, where the trio part evokes the cheering and singing sounds of a german Brauerei. It was a time when Beethoven, still unaffected by the future loss of hearing, was enjoying his free time exchanging ideas with his friends.
A german/danish composer F. Kuhlau, once presented the merry champagne-drinking company with a musical puzzle around Bach's name (the four letters forming the notes B-A-C-H). Beethoven responded with a canon on the same theme using his colleague´s name as text “Kühl, nicht lau“ - cool, not lukewarm. The Trio for piano and two flutes, op.119 is an elegant work, written in the last years of Kuhlau's life. It was after a devastating fire in 1930, when a big number of his manuscripts burned, that his health deteriorated. A couple of years later he died.
A student of Kuhlau and one of the central figures of Danish romantic period, J. F. Frøhlich, is mainly known as a composer of ballet music for choreographer August Bourneville, the celebrated founder of Danish ballet tradition. On the other hand, his music for flute is almost ignored among the players - unjustly. Among several of his compositions for flute, the Duet in C minor reveals Frøhlich´s mastery of the sonata structure, intricate use of harmony, rhythm and rich melodic invention. His virtuosic writing for flute, should have made his music a part of the standard flute repertoire, worthy of his teacher Kuhlau. This CD presents the world premier recording of his Duet in C minor.