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Nature romantique

Juliette Hurel (flute), Hélène Couvert (piano), Emmanuelle Bertrand (cello) (Alpha Classics)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Nature romantique
Weber: Trio in G minor, Op. 63; Schubert: Schäfers Klaglied, D121 (trans. Hurel) etc; Introduction and Variations on ‘Trockne Blumen’, D802; Reinecke: Flute Sonata ‘Undine’
Juliette Hurel (flute), Hélène Couvert (piano), Emmanuelle Bertrand (cello)
Alpha Classics ALPHA982   69:31 mins

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Surprisingly enough, of the three main works in this intelligently planned programme it’s Schubert’s Trockne Blumen variations that is the weakest. It begins promisingly enough with a sombre introduction, but after the hauntingly beautiful song melody itself (taken from the Die schöne Müllerin cycle) there’s a series of increasingly virtuosic, but musically vacuous, variations culminating in a cheerful march, which, if anyone else had composed it, would have been regarded as sacrilegious. It’s a relief afterwards to turn to the simplicity of the song, which is offered here in a straightforward transcription for flute and piano.

More satisfying is Weber’s skilfully written G minor flute trio, whose finale is particularly impressive. The attractive slow movement, headed Schäfers Klagelied (‘Shepherd’s Lament’), is based on a melody similar to that of Schubert’s Goethe setting of the same title, which is also included on the album in an arrangement. The well-known ‘Undine’ sonata by Carl Reinecke is an impassioned, if musically somewhat conservative, piece, and again it’s the finale that leaves the deepest impression. Juliette Hurel’s warm-toned gold flute provides much pleasure throughout, and she is well supported by the pianist Hélène Couvert, and, in the Weber, by the cellist Emmanuelle Bertrand.

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Misha Donat