Maria Graf / Pirmin Grehl / Gernot Schulz

Mozart: Flute & Harp Concerto K. 299; Andante K. 315; Harp Concerto K. 107/1

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The booklet for this release from Germany's Profil label (in German and English) gives detailed and deserved biographies for flutist Pirmin Grehl, harpist Maria Graf, conductor Gernot Schulz, and even the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra of Bad Brückenau, one of the superb and largely unheralded small orchestras to dot the German landscape. The most credit for the success of this album, however, should go to producer Johannes Müller and balance engineer Reinhold Forster, working in an unspecified location, presumably a recording studio. Among the hundreds of recordings of the Concerto for flute, harp, and orchestra in C major, K. 299, this is one of just a few to both make the harp part fully audible and give the instrument a natural sound. This engineering feat is paired with an intelligent interpretation by the performers, reining in the orchestral part and creating space for the ebullient solo writing. Grehl and Graf turn the concerto into more of a solo vehicle than it usually is, and they do so without losing the work's essential lightness and elegance. Grehl's performance of the Andante for flute and orchestra, K. 315, also has special lyricism, and if there's a weakness to this release it's that it's short at 46 minutes and ends on a rather insigificant note: the so-called Concerto for harp and orchestrak, K. 107/1, is doubly transcribed, with the nine-year-old Mozart originally having adapted it from a sonata by J.C. Bach, and Graf in turn turning it from a harpsichord concerto into a harp concerto. It is, for that matter, a charming example of the style of the "London Bach," and it both works well on the harp and fits with the rest of the music on the program. The Concerto for flute and harp here receives a performance destined to be among the standards.

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