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Weber - Flute Trio & Sonatas (1984)

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Weber - Flute Trio & Sonatas (1984)

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1. Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, J. 259: I. Allegro moderato	Stephen Preston, Jennifer Ward Clarke, Richard Burnett		8:43	 
2. Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, J. 259: II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace	Stephen Preston, Jennifer Ward Clarke, Richard Burnett	2:52	 
3. Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, J. 259: III. Schafers Klage: Andante espressivo	Stephen Preston, Jennifer Ward Clarke, Richard Burnett	4:20	 
4. Trio for Flute, Cello and Piano, J. 259: IV. Finale: Allegro	Stephen Preston, Jennifer Ward Clarke, Richard Burnett	8:35	 
5. Sonata No. 4 in E Flat Major: I. Moderato	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	3:49	
6. Sonata No. 4 in E Flat Major: II. Rondo vivace	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	2:05
7. Sonata No. 1 in F Major: I. Allegro	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	3:48	
8. Sonata No. 1 in F Major: II. Romanze: Larghetto	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	1:55
9. Sonata No. 1 in F Major: III. Rondo: Amabile	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	3:19	
10. Sonata in D Major: I. Air russe: Allegretto moderato	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	2:18
11. Sonata in D Major: II. Rondo: Presto	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	2:40	
12. Sonata No. 6 in C Major: I. Allegro con fuoco	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	3:48
13. Sonata No. 6 in C Major: II. Largo	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	1:10	
14. Sonata No. 6 in C Major: III. Polacca	Stephen Preston, Richard Burnett	3:52

Stephen Preston – flute
Jennifer Ward Clarke – cello
Richard Burnett – piano

 

The flute figures in nearly half of Weber's small catalog of chamber music and the most substantial of these items (though not quite as extended as his more popular clarinet quintet) is the Flute Trio with the flute replacing the violin in the usual trio configuration. It's unclear why Weber chose this instrumentation; he designed his clarinet and bassoon works for specific soloists, but no court flutist seems to have inspired this trio, which is dedicated to Philipp Jungh, Weber's friend and doctor. (Weber's flute sonatas are merely alternate versions of his violin sonatas, fairly easy pieces intended for domestic consumption.) The somber first movement (Allegro moderato) begins with long cello and flute lines over a throbbing piano accompaniment and is full of dramatic outbursts. The second theme abounds in more conventional, Classical-style twittering and this tension between dark Romanticism and bright Classicism drives the movement's development with Romanticism having the last word. The Scherzo begins with a rugged, offbeat figure reminiscent of the out-of-kilter scherzo from Beethoven's "Spring" Sonata, though lacking Beethoven's humor. This alternates with a flighty waltz melody, a strong contrast that allows Weber to leave out the scherzo's customary trio section. The third movement, Andante espressivo, bears the title "Schäfers Klage" or "Shepherd's Lament." The simple flute tune creeps along, seemingly unsure of itself, gradually elaborated by all three instruments except for a strange, chromatic interruption similar to the spot where Weber's Oberon Overture harmonically falls apart. The long finale (Allegro) is more conventional, a loose assemblage of chipper tunes, some lyrical and some of the sewing-machine variety. Weber gives the instruments free rein, allowing each to come to prominence through the movement's course and then recede into the general trio texture. ---Rovi

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