Music at the court of Frederick the Great usually conjures up images of JJ Quantz and CPE Bach – or even Frederick himself. That image is now under challenge due to this recording of music by the brothers Graun, who occupied key positions during Frederick’s rule.
This CD features three sonatas by each composer. Some movements are highly spirited. Listen to the Poco Allegro from the opening to the Sonata in D by Carl Heinrich and then contrast it with the Largo from the same sonata; there is an almost hesitant entry of the flute. And some movements are genteel. The Adagio from the Sonata in G is thoughtful and measured.
Then there is the other Graun, Johann Gottlieb. The Adagio from his Sonata in D demonstrates how much freedom this composer allowed his flutist, what with this movement’s forthright and almost chirpy playing, something enhanced in the following Allegro ma non molto. Joana Amorim obviously appreciates this tuneful opportunity, although it should not be allowed to overshadow Fernando Miguel Jalôto’s harpsichord playing.
Contrasted as they are in their approaches, these two composers’ works are rarely performed these days. It is time for them to be restored to a more popular status.