Beethoven Works for Flute Kazunori SeoBeethoven – Works for Flute, Vol. 1
Duos for Flute and Bassoon – Duo for Two Flutes – Serenade

Kazunori Seo, flute
Patrick Gallois, flute; Mitsuo Kodama, bassoon; Asuka Sezaki, violin; Koichi Komine, viola

Naxos, 2018

Beethoven’s Works for Flute: Style and Attribution

The Three Duos for Clarinet and Bassoon

The first thing that comes to you mind when you start listening to the (otherwise lovely) Duos for Clarinet and Bassoon which open the present collection is: has Beethoven really composed this music? It seems to have been written in the Classical period by a composer of that time rather than by the model of many composers of the 19th century. When you think, however, that Beethoven’s early works, included the first symphony (which we recently reviewed the performance of Seiji Ozawa), are strongly influenced by the style of the Classical period – Beethoven grew up and studied in those years, after all – you feel a little reassured… And yet, you still doubt about the authenticity when you remember that the three Duos, composed around 1790-1792, appeared only three decades later in Paris.

Anyway, these three Duos (in C major, in F major and in B flat major) were extremely popular at the time of their publication, to the point that they were arranged for violin and cello, or, as here, for flute and bassoon. In the present recording, all three Duos were all transcribed by Kazunori Seo.

The Other Works: Duo in G major and Serenade in D major

The Duo in G major for two flutes, WoO 26, dates August 1792. Its dedicatee is the composer’s friend J. M. Degenhart. It is divided into two movements, an Allegro con brio and a Menuetto quasi Allegro.

As for the Serenade in D major, Op. 25, the time of its composition is unclear. The options range between 1794–95 and 1801. It was published in its original, six movement version (scored for flute, violin and viola) in Vienna in 1802. Later, it appeared in a version for flute or violin and piano.

The Performance

After the wonderful album of music by Carl Czerny, flautist Kazunori Seo achieves with Beethoven’s Works for Flute another success. Together with the other four performers who play with him, Seo performs this gallant music with his usual, stylish aplomb.

In the Duos, it is extremely pleasant to listen to the interaction between the bassoon (played by Mitsuo Kodama) and the flute and to the sulky, usually melancholic, sometimes severe and “mature” voice of the former together with the shimmering, vivacious and trilling voice of the latter.

Seo brings the exuberance of the Duos with the bassoon also in the Duo for Two Flutes, which he plays with Patrick Gallois. The two woodwinds play with infectious verve and enthusiasm. Here too, the two instruments find a perfect understanding and correspondence in the lively leading voice and in the more pensive second.

Finally, the Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola offers the chance for a more complex picture in its six movements with alternates fast and slow tempos and more or less brilliant tunes. Next to the sparkling colours of Seo’s flute and to his amusing vitality, the silky sound of the strings (played by violinist Asuka Sezaki and violist Koichi Komine) create a delicate and soft contrast.