Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Hansgeorg Schmeiser and Matteo Fossi are on fine form in their entertaining and rewarding collection of works for flute and piano by Mozart, Beethoven, Donizetti and Schubert on a new release from Nimbus Records

A new release from Nimbus Records www.wyastone.co.uk gathers together some real rarities in the form of works for flute and piano by Mozart, Beethoven, Donizetti and Schubert. None of these works are premiere recordings but gathered together they make an attractive disc. The artists performing here are Flautist Hansgeorg Schmeiser and pianist Matteo Fossi

NI 5912


Hansgeorg Schmeiser www.hgschmeiser.at began his musical studies with Gottfried Hechtl at the Musikhochschule of his home town of Graz. He then continued his studies with Alain Marion in Paris and with Wolfgang Schulz at the Musikhochschule Vienna, where he gained his diploma with distinction in 1982. He attended further master-classes with Aurele Nicolet, Alain Marion and Karl-Heinz Zoeller. He is a multiple prizewinner of the Austrian Jeunesse competitions and, in 1982 he was appointed principal flautist of the orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper.

He is professor at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (formerly the Musikhochschule Vienna). He is artistic director of the master-classes of the Neuberger Kulturtage and also directs the International Academy for Flute in Fiss (Tyrol). Schmeiser is a regular guest at the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra as well as being a long-term member of the Wiener Kammerorchester, of the ensemble die Reihe and of the Ensemble des 20.Jahrhunderts. Schmeiser plays a 24ct. gold flute made by the Japanese flute-maker Muramatsu.

Matteo Fossi www.scuolamusica.fiesole.fi.it/index.php?form_id_pagine=367&lang=en  was born in Florence in 1978. He began his musical studies at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole at the age of eight and he graduated with distinction at Conservatorio di Ferrara in 1999. Afterwards he has been working with Maria Tipo and Pietro de Maria at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole,with Maurizio Pollini at the Accademia Chigiana, and with Pier Narciso Masi at the Scuola di Musica di Sesto Fiorentino.

Fossi has been awarded prizes in several international and national solo and chamber music competitions since the age of thirteen. His repertoire as a soloist ranges from Bach to Schnittke and Stockhausen. He has always been attracted by chamber music, the earliest outcome of this interest being Quartetto Klimt, a piano quartet established in 1995 that was soon to become one of the most active and acclaimed chamber music groups of this kind in Italy. Fossi has performed in all the most important musical seasons in Italy and abroad, in important theatres and festivals in Germany, France, England, Spain, Poland, Switzerland, the United States, Brazil and South Korea

The first impression that I drew from listening to Mozart’s Sonata in F major, K.376 (1781), originally written as a Violin Sonata, was how dominant the piano part sounds when coupled with the flute. Nevertheless, the flute has an attractive part with Hansgeorg Schmeiser displaying some lovely fluid playing. Matteo Fossi certainly brings some fine playing to the piano part. In the Andante the flute does take much of the melodic line, yet still the piano has an equal role in this lovely little movement, which is given a languid feel by this fine duo. Both performers have an opportunity to share the attractive theme of the Rondo. Allegretto grazioso finale with its typically Mozartian theme.

This is the first time that I have heard Beethoven’s Serenade in D major, Op.41 1803) in its flute and piano version by Franz X. Kleinheinz (1772-1832), a pupil of Beethoven’s old teacher Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (1736-1809). The flute has more of a dominant role here and in the Entrata. Allegro this duo show just what a fine work it is, in this version, with such finely pointed and rhythmic playing. The flowing Tempo ordinario d’un Menuetto – Trio I and II sees both players playing off Beethoven’s themes against each other before a lovely, rumbustious piano section. This is an endlessly entertaining movement with this duo on fine form.

These two players show great precision in the dancing Allegro molto before the Andante con Variazioni (I-III) brings another of Beethoven’s lovely themes subjected to a series of variations. There is a galloping Allegro scherzando e vivace, brilliantly played by this duo, never overblowing it; and a lovely central section. The oddly attractive, faltering Adagio is exquisitely played before the Allegro vivace e disinvolto receives a brilliantly rollicking display from this duo to conclude.

Donizetti, best known, of course, for his operas, is represented here by his Sonata for Flute and piano (c.1819). It is in one movement with the Largo opening with a serious piano motif taken up by the flute before a flowing melody arrives. The Allegro section has a rhythmic piano part and a fast flowing flute melody that forms much of this work. Though there is a slower second subject that returns more than once.

Whilst this is not a great work it certainly is great fun, especially as played by Schmeiser and Fossi.

Schubert’s Introduction and Variations on ‘Trockne Blumen’ from Die schone Müllerein, D.802 (1824), as its title suggests, takes its theme from his song Trockne Blumen (Faded Flowers) part of his famous song cycle Die schone Müllerein, completed in 1823. The work opens with a dark Introduction. Andante that wells up from the depths, becoming wistful as it does. Schubert’s theme ‘Trockne Blumen’ Andantino is presented first by the piano before the flute joins in this fairly slow section. The theme is subjected to a variety of variations that give this duo the opportunity to show so much of their fine playing. First there is a fast flowing melody that increases in virtuosity, then a strident piano enters with the flute playing above it. The third variation is gently melodic before the next variation brings a fast rippling piano part with the flute adding a gentler motif. Variation five gives the flute a virtuoso role running a fast motif over a longer drawn piano line. The penultimate variation is light and rhythmic and the piece concludes with a final variation Allegro, a March rhythm that works its way from strident and firm through a gentler section to a resolute coda. This is a thoroughly enjoyable work finely played by these two artists.

This is an attractive release that many will find most entertaining and rewarding. It is well recorded at Nimbus’ Wyastone Leys venue in Monmouth, UK and there are informative notes by Calum MacDonald.

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