Danacord's undertaking to record the complete flute and piano works of the Danish composer Joachim Andresen is now well advanced, and this third volume proves to be as enchanting and captivating as the previous two.
Born in 1847, Andersen is considered one of the finest flutists of the late 19th century with his 188 etudes practically the core of every flautist's repertoire. He occupied prestigious posts in Denmark, Russia and Germany and during 11 eventful years in Berlin he played under Brahms, Grieg, Strauss and Tchaikovsky, eventually becoming assistant conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. During his latter years, he returned to Denmark and devoted himself in developing Copenhagen's musical life. He founded the Palace Concerts and also guided an orchestra school for young musicians.
In 1898 he became conductor of the famous Tivoli Orchestra but his tough exterior did not make him popular with his musicians, but they respected his refined standards and huge capacity for hard work.
The six works on this disc date from 1894 to 1896, when Andersen was in the midst of a difficult transition from Berlin to Copenhagen. The three transcriptions from 'Lucia', 'Norma' and Mozart's 'Nozze' all incorporate some of the best tunes from these operas with Andersen breaking with tradition by ending the works on a tragic note.
The National Fantasies (Italian and Scottish) draw on folk melodies and vocal pieces, and are brilliantly crafted pieces, full of integrated themes reminiscent of the countries they come from. The final works on this disc are the 6 Swedish Polka Lieder, all transcribed from Isidore Dannstrom's compositions. Full of sparking little tunes, these pieces are huge fun and they contribute greatly to the magical sound world of this disc. Jensen and Stengard are ideal interpreters, balancing virtuosity with a genuine sense of enjoyment – in a simple yet masterly manner. Excellent sound and informative annotations complete this third instalment of a series that so far, has only offered blissful surprises.
Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech