Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)

Uwe Grodd

Arpeggione Sonata D 821(arr. U. Grodd for flute)
Six Schubert Songs from  ‘Winterreise’, Op. 89, D. 911 and  Schwanengesang, D. 957 (arr. T. Boehm for flute)
Introduction and Variations on ‘Trockne Blumen’ from Die schöne Müllerin, Op. 160, D. 802
Recorded at the WEL Academy, Waikato University, Hamilton, New Zealand, from 26th to 27th August 2007
Producer and Editor: Wayne Laird   
Engineer: Paul McGlashan
Uwe Grodd, flute
Matteo Napoli, piano
Naxos Records, 2009, 8.570754 

The flute repertoire contains a number of works by Schubert, although many of them are arrangements. His flute writing in the symphonies is often quite soloistic—particularly in the fifth symphony—and his music lends itself well to the flute sound.

The Arpeggione sonata was originally composed for an instrument of that name, a type of bowed guitar which is now obsolete. The work lives on in several arrangements, for viola, cello and also flute.  Each of the flute transcriptions—there are a few—is subtly different. That by Uwe Grodd adds some further embellishment in the slow movement. This performance is a good one—the piano sound is clear and bright, and there is a good sense of partnership between the players. At times I would have liked a clearer flute sound to match that of the piano, as the microphones sometimes pick up air in the sound. The music is well phrased, and Grodd makes use of some lovely tone colours. The music is allowed to sing without being overly forced and the performers do not give in to self-indulgence.

Schubert is perhaps best known for his songs, and Theobald Boehm, developer of the modern flute, made arrangements of six of these for flute—or later for his newly invented alto flute—and piano. The first two of these songs come from Winterreise while the remaining four belong to Schwanengesang. These are wonderful arrangements, which are mostly simple and include some variation-like embellishment of the original theme. The themes are lyrical and expressive, and are played here with sensitivity. A particular favourite of mine is Ständchen, with its dark harmonies, mournful theme and turbulent climax.

Schubert’s original flute work, the Variations on Trockne Blumen is a substantial work, lasting over twenty minutes. The breathtaking introduction takes the dark harmonic mood of Ständchen and develops the lines further. This is a truly stunning opening which allows the flute an opportunity to show its rich, dark sonorous qualities. The minor key theme ends in the major, reflecting the poem (from Die schöne Müllerin), and this pattern is maintained throughout the majority of the variations. The work is a true duo, with complex technical displays for both instruments.

MusicWeb International  –  Carla Rees, 9 March 2009

Ein Pionier der Entwicklung der Floete war Theobald Boehm (1794-1881). Ihm verdanken wir zudem eine ganze Anzahl von Adaptionen Schubertscher Werke fuer sein Instrument, so auch die hier vorliegenden Arrangements bekannter Lieder.

Mattheo Napoli, Uwe Grodd
Mattheo Napoli, Uwe Grodd

Es sind Auszuege aus den beiden grossen Liedzyklen: ‘Winterreise’ und ‘Schwanengesang’, die hier mit erstaunlicher Sicherheit und Klangschoenheit gespielt werden, zumal das beruehmte ‘Staendchen’ das ebenos empfindsam wie warmherzig zum Erklingen kommt. Aber auch der dritte Zyklus ‘Die schoene Muellerin’, wird vom Floetisten herangezogen, und zwar durch das einzige Werk, das Schubert fuer die Floete geschrieben hat: ‘ Introduktion und Variationen zu ‘Trockene Blumen’.  Es ist dies eine beeindruckende, 20-minuetige Komposition, die hier ueberzeugend interpretiert wird, da beide Partner fein zusammenspielen. Besonders eindrucksvoll ist die Introduktion, und Grodd weiss, deren ganze Intensitaet herauszustellen, doch auch die einzelenen Variationen kommen gut differenziert zur Geltung. 

Dass die Arpeggione-Sonate D 821 fuer verschiedene Instrumente adaptiert wurde, erscheint nur selbstverstaendlich, weil es das Instrument  Arpeggione nicht mehr gibt. So haben wir deren fuer Bratsche, Cello, Klarinette (Fabio di Casola, cf Pizzicato, Jan. 2009) und auch fuer die Floete.

Grodd stellt seine eigene vor, die vor allem im Mittelsatz durch neue Verzierungen auffaellt. Sein Spiel beweist,  ebenso wie das seines Partners Matteo Napoli, Virtuositaet und Sensibilitaet, und somit haben wir es denn mit einer CD zu tun, die Aufmerksamkeit verdient.

Pizzicato, September 2009