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Carla Rees
MusicWeb International, April 2011

This disc comprises Etudes and Salon works by Danish Composer and flute player, Joachim Andersen. Andersen was known primarily for his compositions for flute, and also as a founder member of the Berlin Philharmonic

The opening work is Cesare Ciardi’s Le Carnaval Russe, a work which Andersen performed at the inaugural concert of the Berlin Philharmonic, and for which he composed the cadenzas. The piece is a set of variations on an operatic theme by Alexander Serov. This is a typical example of salon music of the time, with a popular melody by one composer subjected to virtuoso treatment by another and then with elaborate cadenzas added by the performer. Kyle Dzapo’s flute playing here is clean and precise, with excellent technical control which makes up for a lack of dramatic flamboyance.

Andersen was also known for his transcriptions for flute and piano. Next on the disc are two of Dannström’s Swedish Polka Songs, heard in transcription. These are charming works which are full of character and are given a light and sparkling performance here.

The Acht Vortragesstücke (8 Performance Pieces) are a set of miniatures which are similarly full of charm and energy. Die Mühle (The Mill) is a bustling work which is played here with excellent technical evenness, while Dzapo and Mazzoni present Legende with a sense of romantic expression and warmth. The set of eight pieces—of which three are heard here—concludes with the light and dance-like Tarantella, which is characterized here with clear articulation and a good sense of flow.

Most flute players first encounter Andersen’s music through his etudes, and the Op. 15 set are perhaps the most celebrated, with both musical and technical challenges. Dzapo performs numbers 3 and 24 here, with impressively smooth lines and a good sense of phrasing.

Andersen’s opera transcriptions are also an important part of his compositional output. Included on this disc is the Fantasy on Don Giovanni. This is an entertaining arrangement which begins with the usual Andersen flair, but quickly relaxes into Mozart’s lyrical lines. There is contrast between the arias, and a sense of humour in the arrangement which brings lightness and entertainment, all of which is captured very well by these players.

The final work on the disc is the ebullient Deuxième morceau de concert, a virtuoso piece which begins with a display of energy. The music gradually calms down and includes some gentle lyrical lines which allow space for imaginative phrasing and the demonstration of a good, sonorous tone. A darker piano interlude follows, before a turbulent section with fast-moving lines and rapid changes of harmony. The ending is suitably dramatic, demonstrating both virtuoso skill and performance bravura.

Overall this is an enjoyable disc of light-hearted repertoire, performed with good technical control, a lovely flute sound and a well-judged piano accompaniment. Worth hearing.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2010

Born in Denmark in 1847, Joachim Anderson became one of the world’s best known flautists as a founder member of the Berlin Philharmonic, his salon music fashioned as outrageous displays of dexterity. Sadly his career was cut short at the age of forty-five when he suffered paralysis of the tongue, and he moved to composition and conducting before his death at the age of sixty-two. As the American soloist, Kyle Dzapo, writes in her booklet notes, ‘like so many flautists, I learned of Joachim Anderson by playing his etudes.’ That is about as much as anyone would have known of him today were it not for Dzapo’s tireless research, her work rewarded with the music we hear on this disc. It shows a musician with a ready capacity for writing pleasing lightweight tunes, and to decorate them as he sends the instrument spinning around in a heady display of technical brilliance. Turn to tracks 5 and 6, the Legende and Tarantella from Acht Vortragesstucke, to sample the silky opening of the first and to enjoy the vivacity of the finale. As with all virtuosos of the time he enjoyed recycling the music of others, a nice fun piece coming in the fantasy on tunes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, while his transcription of Isidor Dannstrom’s Swedish Polka Songs is engaging, Cesare Ciardi’s stunning Le carnival russe qualifying for inclusion by virtue of Anderson’s cadenza. The two unaccompanied Grosse Etuden will fascinate flute students, and the Deuxieme morceau are very likeable. The piano is mainly used as a backdrop, but is a role sensitively handled by Matthew Mazzoni, and balancing ideally with Dzapo’s silvery-toned flute and brilliant playing.

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