Erin Helyard’s excellent booklet note sets the scene with the status of the flute in the early 19th century before explaining that his and flautist Melissa Farrow’s new recording “celebrates the wide range of repertoire that was written by Viennese players and composers in the first few decades” of that century, setting virtuosic concert works “side by side with fashionable rondos and sets of variations written for dilettantes in the salon.”
What brought these extremes together was a distinct preference for the variation form, which afforded opportunities to show off a highly developed technique on the one hand and “the familiarity of popular tunes” on the other.
Despite their being written for the amateur market, Beethoven’s Variations on The Last Rose of Summer (1819) are beautifully crafted and full of interest. Anton Eberl’s Sonata for Fortepiano with Flute Obbligato (1804) and August Eberhard Müller’s Grand Sonata for Pianoforte and Flute (1814) are very different beasts: equally well-composed but conceived on a much grander scale for masters of the instrument.
Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart’s Rondo in E minor for flute and piano (1810)...