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4.0 out of 5 stars Well-crafted and appealing concertos from the Romantic era, 15 May 2011
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This review is from: Reinecke: Harp Concerto: Flute Concerto (Audio CD)
Whether it was due to changing fashions and the rising pre-eminence of violin and piano virtuosi or due to the increasing size of the orchestra and the difficulty of pitting the solo instruments against it, the nineteenth century saw a steady decline in the production of formal concertos for both the harp and the flute (and, indeed, for woodwind instruments in general); as far as new compositions were concerned, their only significant role in the orchestral repertoire seems to have been restricted to short concert pieces, paraphrases on popular operas for example or `concertinos', often single movement occasional pieces that acted as fillers on programmes or a showcases for this-or-that local performer or friend of the composer. We should be grateful, therefore, for these two extended works by Reinecke, which are skilfully written and undeniably appealing even if their author is now deemed to be a relatively minor figure in the pantheon of Romantic composers.

Of the two works, the earlier harp concerto is the most substantial and the strongest, I think, both in the quality of the material and Reinecke's handling of it. Even if his was not an original or particularly profound voice, Reinecke was a consummate professional and this shows in the lucid structure of the opening `Allegro moderato' of the harp concerto (and, indeed, in the corresponding movement of the flute concerto) - these works might not be written on the scale or with the complexity of some of the imposing piano concertos of the time but Reinecke leaves you in no doubt that he has approached these pieces with symphonic thinking in mind and neither relies upon empty virtuoso display. This is also reflected in the varied writing for the harp, which is well-integrated within Reinecke's warmly Romantic and occasionally quite atmospheric orchestral textures; the liner notes locate both works stylistically within the orbit of Schumann and Mendelssohn and that pretty much sums up the idiom even though the flute concerto dates from as late as 1908, just two years before the composer's death. Neither of the two major works here quite approaches his solitary violin concerto in substance to my mind (a shamefully neglected work that has had to wait until only recently for its first recording*) even if they have remained reasonably popular with audiences but they are certainly not far off and both to varying degrees reward repeated listening. The `Ballade', Op.288 is a pleasant if unremarkable occasional piece, dating from late in Reinecke's career like the flute concerto.

The performances are very much in sympathy with the Reinecke's music, Pierre and Gaullois alternating as conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra when their counterpart is assuming the task of soloist, both of which roles they deliver with aplomb. The editorial role of Patrick Gaullois is perhaps also worth noting, for those interested, as the flute part is his own adaptation being based on both the orchestral and solo scores of Op. 283, between which there are apparently several discrepancies. Sound quality is consistently good and Naxos' engineers have maintained a well-judged balance between soloists and orchestra.

I don't own any other recordings of these works so I should state that this review is not a comparative one but rather a record of the impressions this issue has made on me. As such, I can say that this disc has brought me a great deal of pleasure over the years and the harp concerto in particular is a finely imagined work that repeatedly draws me back - to anyone interested in either the harp or flute repertoire or just to anyone who enjoys finely crafted music in the German Romantic tradition, this comes with a warm recommendation.

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* the violin concerto is available here from CPO, Carl Reinecke: Symphony No. 1; Violin Concerto; Romances, and comes strongly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent flute playing by Gallois., 19 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Reinecke: Harp Concerto: Flute Concerto (Audio CD)
Well recorded C.D. Gallois playing the flute with the harpist he recorded the Mozart Flute and Harp concerto with. A treat for the ears.
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Reinecke: Harp Concerto: Flute Concerto
Reinecke: Harp Concerto: Flute Concerto by Swedish Chamber Orchestra (Audio CD - 2006)
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