Here is a recording that at last does justice to the extraordinary music of Hotteterre. Hotteterre's music is surely some of the most lyrical and melodic music ever written for the transverse flute. It some of the first music ever written to feature the instrument. Dupré breathes new life into these three suites, which are both joyous and dark. The color produced by the skilled combination and variance of harpsichord, viola ga gamba, and theorbo playing the continuo part is fantastic. This is a superlative recording, worthy of a price many times what it is. I have heard several recordings of these suites, and this is certainly the best.
The recordings on Sweden's BIS label by Israeli-born flutist Sharon Bezaly have exposed a great deal of neglected and often highly virtuosic repertory, much of its brought within reach by Bezaly's unusual circular breathing technique. She's a remarkable flutist, but it's her repertory selection that really sets her apart from the crowd. She actually throws in some chestnuts, like Cécile Chaminade's Concertino for flute and orchestra, Op. 107, this time around, but the highlight is a really nifty and unknown little work: the Flute Concert in D major, Op. 283, of Carl Reinecke, composed in 1908. Its three movements reduce Wagnerian language to a compact concerto in all kinds of ingenious ways. Sample the first movement, where the flute provides a charming pastoral element against a varying backdrop. The other works are each characteristic of their composer, even including the very early Largo and Allegro for flute and strings of Tchaikovsky.
During the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912) a broad diffusion of Western music flowed into Japan, first in the form of military band music and. later, Protestant hymns. By 1900, recitals of piano, violin and song were quite popular. Composers like Prokofiev, and performers such as Heifetz, Kreisler and Segovia also encouraged this musical direction, which strongly followed German Romanticism and French Impressionism. The new Western repertoire found a place with the traditional Japanese music, hdgaku, and as the two traditions came in contact, a new and unique form of music emerged. One of the most fascinating developments in Japanese music was the introduction of new instruments in the south of Japan, and their metamorphosis as they migrated north via Kyoto and Tokyo. Several composers on this disc have focused on natural themes, with water being a favourite and obvious choice. The works have been chosen to give a sampling of the diversity of Japanese music, from the beautiful, traditional folk-songs to the complex and challenging multi-movement works, many of which evoke the traditional instruments, namely shakuhachi and koto.
“Hünteler is playing a Jakob Denner Flute, one of only four to survive, and which was discovered in 1991 in the attic of a house near Nuremberg, where it had lain undisturbed for almost three centuries. And indeed Hünteler elicits beautiful sounds from the instrument.” ~Fanfare
Mozart claimed to dislike the flute and, for that matter, the harp as well which also plays a prominent role in this compilation. But in spite of that, he produced music for the flute in a variety of genres all of which is delightful and much of which is masterful. This release on Philips's "duo" series presents an excellent opportunity for an overview of Mozart's works for flute, well played. It also offers a rare opportunity to hear a variety of performers on the flute and other instruments and orchestras.
Very few conductors have recorded as much Bach as Karl Richter and none can lay a stronger claim to a legacy based on championing the master. Richter's reverence for Bach is evinced by the simplicity, splendor, and grandeur with which he consistently imbued his performances exemplified here by these landmark recordings of the Brandenburg Concertos and Orchestral Suites. In Archiv's original-image bit-processing remastered transfers as well, the sound is better than ever. This is cornerstone Bach that should not be missed.