A mere six months after the first in this series dedicated to Hoffmeister's flute concertos (review
), Naxos, Bruno Meier and the Prague Chamber Orchestra are back with a second instalment, of premiere recordings to boot. This time the programme is more generous, with three concertos instead of two, meaning only twenty to go. Hoffmeister was one of the seemingly countless, truly prolific composers of the eighteenth century, and the 25 solo Flute Concertos - there are three more double concertos involving the flute - are among an astounding sixty-odd he wrote for various instruments. His two Viola Concertos appeared on Naxos last year (see review
Though Hoffmeister's music was widely admired in his lifetime, he himself paid as much attention to his music publishing business as to composition, and wrote with one eye on the hobbyist market. The Concertos are thus quite conventional: from the straightforward key choice and archetypal fast-slow-fast structure to their even-paced grace and thoroughgoing tunefulness, they reflect their creator's canny craftsmanship rather than the hand of artistic genius. The slow movements in particular are chocolaty; anyone who listens to Mozart or Haydn primarily for elegant melodies and rhythmic certainties will find Hoffmeister tasty. Others may find him at times a little too sweet.
Gold-fluted Bruno Meier has no real difficulties to face in the scores, whether technical or expressive, whilst the dependable if not exactly characterful Prague Chamber Orchestra provide dabs of background colour. Concerto no.16 was recorded at the same time as those on the first disc and thus has the same pretty decent audio quality - just a slight lack of clarity in the strings. The other two were recorded a year later in the same studio; results are at least as impressive. Notes are again by the musically-named Stephan Hörner, who still, in among the useful biographical and musical detail, bandies phrases like "'Mozartian profundity"' and "extreme virtuosity of the solo part" that are barely relevant to these works.
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