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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67526
Recording details: May 2005
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: May 2006
Total duration: 24 minutes 43 seconds

'The performances are of superlative quality: sophisticated 'conversations' between musicians of rare insight deserving wider circulation' (The Sunday Times)

'This is a delightful program of 'Beethoven-lite' for which the Gaudier Ensemble makes the best possible case. Recording and notes are up to Hyperion's usual standards. I, for one, am grateful that the label seems to have survived its devastating lawsuit loss and is still able to continue producing such wonderful recordings. Recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'Experience has demonstrated to me that any new recording from the Gaudier Ensemble is cause for rejoicing' (MusicWeb International)

'Ce CD procure d'infinis bonheurs et d'abord ceux d'une entente et d'une homogénéité sonore parfaite entre les protagonistes des deux premières œuvres' (ClassicsTodayFrance.com)

Serenade in D major, Op 25
composer
circa 1800/1

Entrata: Allegro  [3'40]
Allegro molto  [2'02]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Serenade in D major, Op 25, for the airy combination of flute, violin and viola, was long thought to belong to the same period as the Clarinet Trio. Though the evidence is not watertight, 1800–01 now seems more likely, making the Serenade a close contemporary of the popular Septet. Written primarily for the profitable domestic market (since the days of Frederick the Great the flute was the instrument par excellence of the gentleman amateur), the Serenade, like the Septet, is a delightful late offshoot of the eighteenth-century divertimento tradition. Like Mozart in his Salzburg serenades, Beethoven begins with a march-like movement, here titled ‘Entrata’. In the opening fanfare the flute seems to be masquerading as a horn; the strings quickly join in the fun, and the whole movement is full of delicate, quickfire give-and-take between the three instruments.

Following tradition, the next movement is a galant minuet with two trios, the first for violin and viola alone, the second a skittering flute solo with a mandolin-style accompaniment. A mock-splenetic D minor Allegro molto leads to the Serenade’s centrepiece, a set of variations on a theme announced by the strings in double stopping to create a quartet texture. The three variations spotlight each of the instruments in succession, first flute (who turns the meditative theme into a frolic), then violin (with skipping triplets) and finally viola. After a frisky scherzo with a gliding, contrapuntal D minor trio, a brief Adagio acts as an introduction to the final rondo, a faintly rustic contredanse with a main theme characterized by piquant ‘Scotch Snap’ rhythms.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2006

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