João Pereira Coutinho

Música al Conservatori Reial de Lisboa: Obres per a flauta i piano de Briccialdi, Böh, Reichert, Vieira

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For their 2005 album Recital for King Ferdinand II, flutist João Pereira Coutinho and pianist José Bon de Sousa have created a plausible nineteenth century program in imitation of the music-making at the Royal Conservatory of Lisbon. This album of works for flute and piano may be mildly interesting in terms of Portuguese history, but unless one has a particular interest in flute music, or is specifically studying the works presented here, this disc is easy to pass over for its shallow contents. The pieces by minor composers Giulio Briccialdi, Theobald Boehm, Mathieu-André Reichert, and Ernesto Vieira are not sophisticated, nor are they particularly challenging technically. However, this program is representative of the period's tastes, and the music is suited to the typical skills of flutists of the time. That the pieces also happen to be mediocre fantasies and parlor pleasantries is almost axiomatic, since it appears that flute music was so universally practiced in Portugal that it acquired middling aesthetic qualities. Briccialdi's Fantasy on themes from Macbeth, Boehm's Andante Pastorale from the Souvenir des Alpes, Reichert's Fantaisie mélancolique, and Vieira's Flute Concerto initially appeal as light music, yet despite the talents of Coutinho and de Sousa, they fall short of being truly charming or gratifying because of their superficiality. The sound, though, is exceptionally clear and delightfully resonant.

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