Bach: Flute Sonatas

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bach
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Flute Sonatas
PERFORMER: Petri Alanko, Hanna Juutilainen (flute), Anssi Mattila (harpsichord), Jukka Rautasalo (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553754, 8.553755
Swedish flautist Petri Alanko plays a quick-speaking, Japanese-designed flute; it is gold and his sound is suitably syrupy. Unhampered by a slower-speaking, wooden Baroque flute, he is able to take the prestos and allegros of JS Bach’s sonatas at a fair lick, with animated readings displaying crystal-clear articulation.

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However, none of these sonatas for flute and harpsichord or continue, nor the solo Partita or Trio Sonata in G, BWV 1039, included in these budget-price CDs, is made up exclusively of quick-fire movements. Robust though Alanko’s tone is, the more precious sarabandes, sicilianas or largos come across as bland and directionless. Surely, once you’ve decided to play Bach on a modern instrument, it’s best to make the most of its range of tone colours and dynamics. Bach’s slow sonata movements provide ample opportunity to show off these elements, but Alanko seems suspicious of piano and afraid of tonal variety, and therefore doesn’t give the listener enough contrast to enjoy the sonata as a whole.

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His harpsichord partner, Anssi Mattila, is non-intrusive yet supportive when taking the continue role and an eager participant as a solo match in the sonatas Bach wrote for flute and harpsichord. The recording is clean and immediate and balance between the instruments excellent. Kate Sherriff