from Vienna -
'... a most engaging recital ...'
Anyone who has sat in Vienna's expansive and elegant Café Central with a kleiner Brauner or Einspänner and portions of delicious Sachertorte will know how important the coffee houses were -- and still are -- to the Viennese. Their history, which goes back some four hundred years, tells of a genesis at the exodus of the Turks and subsequent generous imports of rich coffee beans. They were for a long time the exclusive territory of men only, but by the early nineteenth century families were welcomed and there were lady's rooms. They were meeting places for artists, writers and composers, and the recorder player Michala Petri and guitarist Lars Hannibal celebrate this particular period with a recital of music that might well have been heard by the leisured city folk as they relaxed with newspapers or gentle conversation.
There are some attractive musical novelties assembled here. The guitar virtuoso Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) was also a cellist -- he played in the first performance of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. His Gran duetto Concertante Op 52 is among his best pieces, originally written for violin or flute and guitar, and sounding well in a recorder transcription in which, occasionally, the guitar is allowed some rewarding moments.
Listen -- Giuliani: Menuetto (Gran duetto Concertante)
(track 2, 2:04-2:59) © 2009 OUR Recordings
Ferdinando Carulli (1770-1841) was one of the many composers to be attracted to writing variations on the English national anthem
Listen -- Carulli: Fantaisie sur un Air National Anglais
(track 4, 0:35-1:26) © 2009 OUR Recordings
and Joseph Küffner (1776-1856), a German violinist and bandmaster whose formidable output reached 289 works and included several operas, seven symphonies and a mass of orchestral and chamber music, was attracted to French national songs for his Potpourri Op 226, in which he enjoys elaborating La Marseillaise in the style of a Viennese ländler.
Listen -- Küffner: Potpourri sur des Airs Nationaux Francais
(track 5, 3:11-4:16) © 2009 OUR Recordings
Beethoven apparently wrote a group of pieces for mandolin with piano accompaniment of which four survive, and two are arranged for this recording, the second being a brief and particularly good vehicle for some of the distinctive Petri virtuosity.
Listen -- Beethoven: Sonatina in C
(track 7, 0:00-0:56) © 2009 OUR Recordings
There is also music by Ernest Krähmer, Joseph Mayseder and Carl Scheindienst about whom little is known, and whose Variations on an Austrian Folk Tune may be the only extant piece recorded. It is just possible that his name is an invention, perhaps to hide the identity of an obviously adept composer.
Listen -- Carl Scheindienst: Gestern Abend war Vetter Mikkel da
(track 10, 3:57-5:25) © 2009 OUR Recordings
It brings a most engaging recital to an exciting close.
Copyright © 23 November 2009
CD INFORMATION: CAFÉ VIENNA