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Gramophone: Attractive melody abounds on this charming and amiable disc!

March 31, 2010

William Yeoman

Attractive melody abounds on this charming and amiable disc!

In the booklet accompanying this delightful disc, Joshua Cheek ends his brief notes on the origins of the Viennese coffee culture by telling us that the recorder and guitar have formed an imaginary "house band" in order to recreate the experience of enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon Kaffeeklatsch in Vienna circa 1800. And indeed the programme is as light and frothy as the cream on a Vienna coffee - though with fewer calories. Mauro Giuliani`s "Gran Duetto Concertante" was orriginally written for flute or violin and guitar, and is typical of that composers`s penchant for attractive melody and idiomatic arpeggio
figures; fellow Italian guitarist Fernando Carulli`s set of variatios on a tune familiar to all makes similarity few demands on the listener.
These are followed by another set of variations; this time by composer who was as prolific as he is obscure, one Joseph Küffner, two Beethoven sonatinas without opus number, originally written for mandolin and piano, and three more variations on the variation theme, originally tor the now-obsolete alto recorder-like csakan, by the accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Ernest Krähmer. Joseph Mayseder, virtuoso violinist and intimate of Beethoven, and Carl Scheindienst.
The latter three works are the more overtly virtuoso; but it`s to the credit of the considerable musicianship of this amiable duo, who even the most tired compositional device commands attention. This is lightweight fare, to be sure, but Petri and Hannibal don`t pretend otherwise, and as a result a good time is had by all. More sugar please? William Yeoman, April 2010