Mozart, Beethoven, Fiala: 18th Century Duets for Flute and Cello


  • Artist(s): Rita D´Arcangelo, Romain Garioud
  • Composer(s): Josef Fiala, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • EAN Code: 7.46160913889
  • Edition: Da Vinci Classics
  • Format: 1 Cd
  • Genre: Chamber
  • Instrumentation: Cello, Flute
  • Period: Classical
  • Publication year: 2022
SKU: C00554 Category:

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Today, the label of “classical music” covers an enormous timespan, and, within it, a variety of genres. In some cases, one could say that a particular work was a “Classic” since its premiere, or even since its conception. Arguably, Beethoven imagined his Ninth Symphony as aiming at the status of “Classic” well before it was ready for performance. His standing at the time, his unquestionable genius, and the efforts he put in its creation were just as many guarantees for the Symphony’s reception and for its lasting appreciation.
Such works were conceived from the outset for public performance; they may require a large ensemble of professionals in order to be played, and a large venue to be enjoyed. In a way, these are the “classics of classical music”.
However, today the umbrella of “classical music” covers also a great number of works which never aimed at such a status. They were works conceived for private performance, for “immediate consumption”, so to speak, and for the delight of their players more than of their listeners (if listeners were at all present).
In other words, works which were intended as the “light music” of the past have become now, by virtue of their age rather than of their intrinsic qualities, part of “classical music”. This includes also their displacement from the private home to the concert hall (or to the recording medium).
Works such as those recorded in this fascinating Da Vinci Classics album belong clearly in this second category. To be clear, this categorization is by no means to be intended as an a priori judgment of value: there are absolute masterpieces in this field, and many of them need to be rediscovered and appreciated. And these forgotten gems certainly include the works recorded here. What is at stake, therefore, is not artistic value per se, but rather the context and practices of musical creation and consumption. Works such as these Duets were conceived as ephemeral artworks; their very creators would have been surprised at their rediscovery, centuries after their publication. They were conceived, as previously stated, for private or semiprivate performance. They could be destined for skilled amateurs, who loved to play chamber music in their free time. (In the case of aristocrats, they had virtually no “non-free” time. They could therefore dedicate considerable time and effort to musical practice. Their musical level could be compared with that of professionals, the only difference being that aristocrats did not earn money by playing). Or they could be imagined as the background music for the nobility’s daily activities. In that case, these pieces were played by professionals of the court orchestra. Such works could be listened to attentively, but by a very restricted audience; or constitute the barely noticed musical backdrop to chatting, playing games, reading books, painting, or drinking chocolate or coffee. This form of musical enjoyment is perhaps the one closest to what is experienced by today’s listeners of musical CDs such as that you have presently in your hands. It is the private “luxury of beauty”, the possibility of savouring a moment of art in the midst of many other businesses, or perhaps to “beautify” the spare moment giving it a novel meaning.
Having thus sketched the intended context for the Duets recorded here, another point follows: the cogency (or lack thereof) of the composer’s indications about the performing forces. Of the pieces recorded here, only the two Duo concertante by Josef Fiala are original works for flute and cello; the others are transcriptions. Mozart’s Duo was originally scored for bassoon and cello, and Beethoven’s Duets were intended for clarinet and bassoon. How important is the original “sound” for the appreciation of this music?
Here again, I think that a line should be drawn dividing the “classics of classical music” and works like the duets recorded here. In Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (to remain in the example cited before), to replace the timpani’s solo at the Scherzo’s opening with, for example, a double-bass pizzicato would be unthinkable. On the one hand, its musical idea and gesture are strictly linked to the instrument employed to realize them. On the other, the classical music listeners’ knowledge of this Symphony is so deep that such a replacement would (rightly) be conceived as little short of blasphemy. In works such as these duets, instead, frequently the original instruments’ idiomatic features are not entirely put to use. What matters most is the melody’s beauty, the flow of music, the charming rhythms, the graceful pace, the spirited inventions. These traits (found in all works recorded here) lose very little, or perhaps nothing, when transferred from an instrumental medium to another. Moreover, this corresponds entirely to the practice of the time. In a certain, paradoxical fashion, one is faithful to the spirit of the eighteenth century by not being excessively faithful to the letter of the score. When a composer wrote and published Duets such as these, he or she fully expected these works to be adapted to the taste, availability, skill, creativity, and imagination of the final user. And this is frequently testified not only by anecdotal evidence, but also by the very history of the pieces under discussion, including those recorded here.
For instance, scholars debate as to the very intentions of the composer as regards the bassoon part in Mozart’s Duo. Surprisingly, in fact, and not in keeping with Mozart’s usual treatment of the bassoon, its part has a very limited range – practically a half of what the bassoon of Mozart’s time could play, and of what the composer habitually used. It has been argued, therefore, that the part could have been intended for the fagottino, a smaller-sized bassoon. This does not explain the matter fully, however. The fagottino, in fact, cannot reach its larger cousin’s low notes (and this could explain why very few low notes are found in its part); but the fagottino’s upper register is also not required by Mozart’s score, and this is harder to understand. Possibly Mozart wanted to write a piece which could be played on both instruments? This surmise cannot be proved, of course, but it does demonstrate the flexibility of the composers’ indications for works such as these and for their performance.
Mozart’s composition of this Duo has normally been related with his friendship with Baron Thaddäus von Dürniz (1756-1807), the dedicatee of Mozart’s Keyboard Sonata KV 284. Dürniz represented an instance of precisely the kind of aristocratic amateurs discussed earlier: he was a very good bassoon player. Mozart and Dürniz, who were the same age, had met in Munich in 1774-5, so, prima facie, the attribution makes sense. However, none of Mozart’s works for the bassoon had been (listed) in the Baron’s musical library, and this seems to disprove the attribution.
Another curious aspect regards the title, and what is implied by it. Properly speaking, a “duo” or “duet” should be a talk among equals, a musical encounter of peers. Here, evidently, the bassoon is the protagonist, and the bass part is practically a continuo part. When Mozart’s work (originally called Sonata by the composer, as was common practice for solo pieces with continuo accompaniment) was published, almost fifteen years after the composer’s death, the title was changed into Duo out of purely commercial reasons. Solo works with continuo were out of fashion in the early nineteenth century, whilst duets could be more easily sold. However, the work’s original concept should be borne in mind when listening to it, lest the refinement of its writing fails to appear.
Mozart probably appreciated the joy of making music together as few other people in history. He knew that chamber music could afford hours of pleasure to both geniuses as he was and mere amateurs. His attitude toward chamber music certainly had to do with both his love for music, and his appreciation of human relationships. And these he was able to establish with aristocrats and with simpler folk, but, especially, with fellow musicians. One of them was Josef Fiala, a Bohemian musician who was a few years his senior. Fiala and Mozart met, once more, in Munich (three years after Mozart’s acquaintance with Dürniz). By that time, Fiala had already established himself as a skilled oboe, cello and gamba player; he had been appointed as an oboe player at the prestigious Bavarian court chapel after other jobs in various European cities. Mozart befriended him and was impressed by his talent and accomplishment. Thus, the following year, Mozart obtained for him a place in Salzburg, in the Archbishop’s orchestra where, at the time, both Wolfgang and his father Leopold were still employed. In Salzburg, Fiala did not abandon his other instruments; he played the cello at the Salzburg premiere of Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail. Later, like Mozart, he moved to Vienna, and still later to Sankt Petersburg and to Donaueschingen. So appreciated was Fiala during his lifetime that he was granted the king’s coat of arms as a token of esteem. His two Duo Concertante display the unusual, first-hand, and professional knowledge Fiala had of both string and wind instruments. Both are treated in a truly “concertante” fashion (and here the different concept with Mozart’s “duo” comes to the fore). Fiala’s brilliant inventions punctuate all movements, demonstrating virtuoso and shining technical solutions in the quicker movements or in the elaborated variations closing the second Duo, and a noteworthy lyrical talent in the two Adagios.
The three Duets for clarinet and bassoon by Beethoven are of disputed authenticity, even though most scholars tend to attribute them to the composer. Certainly, they belong to his first compositional period, when he still was in Bonn, and they mirror the elegant and spirited fashion of the Classical era. They were published much later, however, and probably unbeknownst to the composer. Likely, Beethoven had left the manuscript behind when he moved from Bonn to Vienna in his youth, and the autograph (or a copy of it) mysteriously found its way to the hand of a French publisher, who was quick to exploit the (by now fully established) fame of the German composer. If here Beethoven does not question the “highest matters” of the spirit and of musical thought, nonetheless he demonstrates his precocious ability to combine a variety of compositional elements with inventiveness, freshness, and genius.
Together, these works seem to bring back a lost world of refinement, elegance, humour, irony, and beauty. By listening to their recording on this Da Vinci Classics CD, something of the eighteenth-century’s “luxury of beauty” of eighteenth-century aristocrats will be granted also to our busy and sometimes stressful lives.
Chiara Bertoglio © 2022


Rita D´Arcangelo: She graduated in flute, with honors, at the Conservatory of Music "L. D'Annunzio " in Pescara (Italy), she then graduated also at the "Royal Northern College of Music "in Manchester, “ the International Academy of Music in Milan " and " the Hochschule fuer Musik” in Mannheim. Rita studied with Sir James Galway for many years, following the masterclasses of the Weggis Flute Festival in Switzerland, where she won the gold Nagahara 14K flute headjoint in 2008 and was invited as Guest Artist in 2016 and 2019. First prize in numerous international competitions, she made her debut as soloist in 2011 at the Carnegie Hall in New York. She's one of the few flautists to have in repertoire the Concierto Pastoral by J. Rodrigo. She recorded for the German radios SR2, SWR and WDR, the Japanese National Television NHK and for the Vatican Radio. As a first flute she worked at the "HPAC Orchestra" and the Osaka Philarmonic Orchestra in Japan; Filharmonia Gorzowska, the United Chamber Orchestra and the Kammersolisten der Deutschen Oper Berlin. As chamber musician she plays in Duo with musicians as pianist Giuliano Mazzoccante and guitarist Jakub Kościuszko. She's flute professor at the Department of Music of the German State University BTU – Cottbus, at the private University Akademie für Musik in Berlin, and regularly teaches in masterclasses in Asia, Europe and U.S.A. The published discography includes: Chedeville: “The Pastor Fido”, 6 sonatas for flute and continuo (Wide Classique 2010); “Allegro con Brio” (Wide Classique 2012) in duo with Giuliano Mazzoccante, winner of the Award of Excellence in the Instrumental Performance Solo category of the Global Music Awards, Los Angeles, U.S.A; “A Virtuoso Journey”, (2015 Centaur) winner of the "Gold Medal Winner - Award of Excellence" of the Global Music Awards, Los Angeles, U.S.A; “Rita D'Arcangelo - Jakub Kościuszko” (QBK - 2016); “Solo Bach” (Centaur 2017) dedicated to solo flute music by J.S.Bach and C.Ph.E.Bach with also some transcriptions made by Rita D´Arcangelo, from the repertoire for violin and cello by J.S.Bach. “Inspired by Rita D´Arcangelo” (QBK 2019) a world premiere recording of new pieces inspired by her art. Rita D'Arcangelo is a Nagahara Flutes Artist and plays on a beautiful instrument crafted expressly for her by Kanichi Nagahara.

Romain Garioud is prize winner at such prestigious international competitions as Moscow’ s Tchaikovsky (2001) and Paris’ Rostropovitch (2002) and in 2005, wins the 1st Prize of Bucchi’s International cello Competition. He graduated from Paris’ s Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique with a First Prize in both cello (1997) and chamber music (1998) and Konzertexam. Known for his outstanding sound and sense of phrasing, Romain Garioud has had the privilege of working with such widely renowned cellists as Philippe Muller, Anner Bylsma, Natalia Chakovskaia, David Geringas, Steven Isserlis. Nowadays, his career alternates between solists engagements on every continents, Masterclasses and his position of Professor in the « Akademie für Tonkunst » of Darmstadt. Romain Garioud played Lutoslawsly’s cello concerto for the Yuri Bashmet’s festival of Minsk with the television orchestra, was invited to play for the “Marta Argerich Project” in Lugano, also substituted Natalia Gutman in the 1st Shostakovitch’s Cello concerto with the orchestra «Casa da Musica» of Porto (Portugal), recently played the Dvorjak Cello Concerto with the conductor Michael Sanderling and the Aalborg Philarmonic (DK) and with such orchestras as the Philarmonic and the Radio Orchestra of Sofia (Bulgary).
He played with such conductors as Christoph Eschenbach (Orchestre de Paris) and Volodymir Sirenko (Nat. of Ukraine) and with prestigious chamber music partners like Mstislav Rostropovitch, Menahem Presler, Gilles Apap, Giuliano Mazzoccante, Dora Schwarzberg, Ulf the most famous concert halls, Musikverein and Konzerthaus Wien, Berlin Philharmonie. Several of his concerts were recorded by Radio France or Music Cable TV channel Mezzo. From 2021, he’s fouding member of the «TriOdyssey» with the violinist Laurent Albrecht Breuninger and the pianist Rinko Hama. He’s playing an exceptional Nicolai Gagliano’s cello from 1760, generously lent by Gabriele & Michael Andreae-Jäckering.


Joseph Fiala
(b Lochovitz [now Lochovice], western Bohemia, 2 March 1748; d Donaueschingen, 31 July 1816). Bohemian composer, oboist, cellist and viol player. In his youth he was bound to the service of Countess Netolická (Netolitzky) and studied the oboe in Prague with Jan Št'astný (i) and the cello with Franz Joseph Werner, who also taught Josef Reicha. There are divergent accounts of his precipitous departure from Prague and his visits to Regensburg and Vienna. From 1774 Fiala was an oboist in the Kapelle of Prince (Fürst) Kraft Ernst von Oettingen-Wallerstein in Swabia, where his colleagues included Ignaz von Beecke, Josef Reicha and Antonio Rosetti. The Wallerstein parish records mention the baptism of an illegitimate son, ‘Franciscus Xav. Josephus’, on 26 October 1776, the father being described as ‘Josephus Viola Musicus auliens’.

Ludwig van Beethoven: (b Bonn, bap. 17 Dec 1770; d Vienna, 26 March 1827). German composer. His early achievements, as composer and performer, show him to be extending the Viennese Classical tradition that he had inherited from Mozart and Haydn. As personal affliction – deafness, and the inability to enter into happy personal relationships – loomed larger, he began to compose in an increasingly individual musical style, and at the end of his life he wrote his most sublime and profound works. From his success at combining tradition and exploration and personal expression, he came to be regarded as the dominant musical figure of the 19th century, and scarcely any significant composer since his time has escaped his influence or failed to acknowledge it. For the respect his works have commanded of musicians, and the popularity they have enjoyed among wider audiences, he is probably the most admired composer in the history of Western music.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: (b Salzburg, 27 Jan 1756; d Vienna, 5 Dec 1791). Austrian composer, son of Leopold Mozart. His style essentially represents a synthesis of many different elements, which coalesced in his Viennese years, from 1781 on, into an idiom now regarded as a peak of Viennese Classicism. The mature music, distinguished by its melodic beauty, its formal elegance and its richness of harmony and texture, is deeply coloured by Italian opera though also rooted in Austrian and south German instrumental traditions. Unlike Haydn, his senior by 24 years, and Beethoven, his junior by 15, he excelled in every medium current in his time. He may thus be regarded as the most universal composer in the history of Western music.