, October 2007
"On this disc the European Flute Trio play five of Kuhlau's flute trios. The Grand Trio in B minor, op. 90 was published in 1828 and is the most virtuosic of all the pieces on the disc. The three trios op. 13, were published in 1815, and the Trio in E minor, op. 86 no. 1 was published in 1827.
Kuhlau wrote quite a bit of salon music and the salon is never very far away in these piece, no matter how classically and seriously they are constructed. The Grand Trio has a strong whiff of the virtuoso salon showpiece which was popular in the 19th century. The remaining trios are charming works, quite substantial in length. They were probably written for talented amateurs to play rather than as concert works.
The European Flute Trio (Antonio De Matola, Maxence Larrieu and Carlo de Matola) play these pieces as if to the manner born. They have no trouble at all with the virtuoso elements required and produce cascades of beautiful, liquid sounds. The three players balance nicely and create a good feeling of ensemble whilst remaining three distinct voices. Both De Matolas were pupils of Maxence Larrieu, which probably helps with the group's cohesion."
"Frankly, I was rather surprised at how much I enjoyed this disc. A whole CD of music for three unaccompanied flutes could be a little daunting. But Kuhlau's music has charm, lightness and strength of construction and this is brought out in these performances. Do try the disc, you will hear some charming music and some superb flute playing."
David's Review Corner
, March 2007
Though Denmark claims Daniel Friedrich Rudolph Kuhlau as a
national composer, he was born in Germany, but driven to seek refuge in Copenhagen
when Napoleon invaded Hamburg. If he had believed the move would provide a ready
living as a pianist and composer, his hopes were soon dashed, though he was
looked upon to support his parents and their large family who had also fled
to Denmark. Out of necessity he became a hack-writer working for a German publisher
turning out countless works of a popular nature. The major breakthrough came
with Elverhoj (The Elf Mound), composed for the royal wedding in 1828,
by which time he was already 42. Fate was still to be unkind, with both of his
parents dying the following year, and his home destroyed in a fire. He had never
enjoyed the best of health, and these two events were also to effect him mentally.
He died after a four-month illness at the age of 46. In that short life he had
written a considerable amount of music including operas, orchestral works, chamber
music and a massive instrumental output. In retrospect he is now seen as an
influential composer in Denmark at that time, moving music from a parochial
to a cosmopolitan style. Though not a flautist himself he did offer a number
of works for the instrument, including scores for two, three and four instruments.
The earliest work on the disc, the three opus 13 pieces, date from 1815, and
though we advance another thirteen years to the Grand Trio, his affable style
remained unchanged. For the musicians they offer plenty to show their agility
- Kuhlau providing solo opportunities to the second and third flutes - while
he generates gentle warmth in slow movements. The European Flute Trio is led
by one of the most highly respected flautists, Maxence Larrieu, the overall
tone being one of silvery elegance. For the music sample the sprightly track
10, the opening movement of the third trio of opus 13, and at the same time
hear the immaculate ensemble of the three instruments as they weave the complex
patterns. The recording is a typical top quality studio product.