Frank Theuns / Ewald Demeyere / Richte Van Der Meer

Kirnberger: Sonatas for flute

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Johann Philipp Kirnberger, student of Bach, is known mostly as a theorist and musical commentator. Most of his works are for keyboard, the theorist's medium, and recordings of any of them remain infrequent. It's both a surprise and a pleasure, then, to discover this disc of flute works, originally issued in 1998, and to find that it's even more listenable than flutist and annotator Frank Theuns gives credit for. The music dates from the 1760s. The two trios for flute, cello, and harpsichord -- more than trio sonatas in places -- he dismisses with the statement that they "seem to have been conceived...as contrapuntal finger exercises." There is a lot of sheer figuration in all these pieces, but no more than one would expect from a keyboardist student of Bach's, and the contrasts between stout Baroque chords in the harpsichord and lighthearted ornament in the flute, which tends to make itself known as a movement proceeds, is charming. The works for solo harpsichord are purely in the Bach mold, but all the works with flute show evidence of an intriguing effort to reconcile the teachings of a very conservative mentor with new stylistic trends. The performances, on historical instruments, are by a group of Belgian players who by now are veterans, and the small ensemble was recorded clearly and accurately. This isn't an essential purchase for the casual listener, but it will give those who love the music of the middle eighteenth century both enjoyment and food for thought: the two trios may have more to do with the roots of chamber music than is generally supposed.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Sonata for flute & continuo in G major
1 02:20 Amazon
2 04:34 Amazon
3 04:58 Amazon
Preludium and Fugue for harpsichord in E minor
4 01:36 Amazon
5 01:49 Amazon
Sonata for flute & continuo in C major
6 03:16 Amazon
7 04:52 Amazon
8 03:06 Amazon
Trio for flute, violin & continuo in C major
9 02:41 Amazon
10 01:40 Amazon
11 02:26 Amazon
Sonata for flute & continuo in B flat major
12 02:43 Amazon
13 05:24 Amazon
14 02:42 Amazon
Trio for flute, violin & continuo in G minor
15 04:16 Amazon
16 01:49 Amazon
17 02:32 Amazon
Sonata for flute & continuo in G minor
18 02:30 Amazon
19 04:33 Amazon
20 03:13 Amazon
21 01:43 Amazon
22 03:20 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick