Friedrich Hartmann Graf: Flute Concertos (4) / Gaby Pas-Van-Riet, flute

Friedrich Hartmann Graf’s (1727-1795) flute concertos come from a time when the transverse flute had recently gained enormous popularity, becoming one of the most fashionable instruments for the concert-going public. Composers responded by churning out chamber music and concertos for the instrument. One notable example is Graf’s contemporary Johann Joachim Quantz, who penned over three hundred flute concertos! Graf ‘s comparatively modest forty-six known concertos were very popular, printed, and distributed throughout Europe. Cpo brings us four of these, all scored for solo flute with strings and two horns, and two oboes added to one of them.

Listeners who enjoy the Mozart flute concertos will undoubtedly enjoy these as well. Even though Graf was a generation older than Mozart, the works on this CD were likely written in the 1770s – the same decade that Mozart wrote his two flute concertos. Like Mozart’s, Graf’s concertos are brilliant and melodic, with new tutti sections (everybody’s playing), lyrical middle movements, and concluding movements that are relatively short, brisk, and playful. They are also harmonically rich and instilled with a Mozartian elegance.

The whole production is up to CPO’s usual standards. Flute soloist Gaby Pas-Van Riet has served as principal flute of the Orchestra of the European Community under Barenboim, Karajan, and Abbado and was also the first chair in the Stuttgart Radio Symphony. The Südwestdeutsche Kammerorchester Pforzheim (say that ten times real fast!) are splendid under Johannes Moesus. I’m sure that anyone still reading will thoroughly enjoy this.

Album Overview

A Great Flute Virtuoso

Friedrich Hartmann Graf is as little-known today as he was immensely popular in his life when he enjoyed high esteem as a virtuoso flutist and composer. His works, whether printed or (as most often happened) in manuscript, were disseminated far and wide. Such renowned publishing firms distributed his many unprinted compositions as Breitkopf and by the composer himself, who was apparently no less business-minded than Leopold Mozart and Joseph Haydn and offered his music to a select group of subscribers. To quote a contemporary, “The compositions for his favorite instrument are held in great esteem by connoisseurs of that instrument, especially in England, Holland, and Switzerland, and are exceptionally popular at many German courts.” Incidentally, their popularity in Holland was no accident, for his brother Christian Ernst headed the chapel of Willem V of Orange in The Hague, where Hartmann was a frequent and welcome visitor. The four flute concertos on our recording are marvelously entertaining additions to the early classical repertoire.

Composer: Friedrich Hartmann Graf

Friedrich Hartmann Graf (23 August 1727 – 19 August 1795) was a German flutist and composer. Graf was born on 23 August 1727 in Rudolstadt. His father, Johann Graf trained him, and then served as a drummer in a Dutch army regiment where he was taken as a prisoner of war by the English. After he returned in 1759, he became a flutist and conductor in Hamburg for five years.

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Flute: Gaby Pas-Van Riet

“Since 1984, I have given Master Classes in Belgium, France, Germany, and Holland, to name a few. In 1989 I was a member of the jury of the International Kuhlau Competition for flute in Uelzen (Germany) and 2004 of the ARD International Competition (flute) in Munich.”

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Conductor:  Johannes Moesus

Johannes Moesus Johannes Moesus has gained widespread acclaim as a specialist in the 18th- and 19th-centuries and a musical explorer with a fondness for classical composers, whether well-known or unknown. In his thrilling concerts, this highly sensitive conductor demonstrates a solid sense of style in the classical-romantic and modernist repertoires.

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Orchestra: Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim

A fresh and gripping musical approach and stylistic diversity of early to contemporary music is the distinctive mark of the Southwest German Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim (Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim). With fourteen musicians from seven countries, the ensemble is one of the very few full-time chamber orchestras.

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