Johan Helmich Roman (1694‐1758) has a fair claim to the title of the Swedish Handel, and these twelve sonatas for flute and
basso continuo represent the best of his fresh and charming music. He evidently thought highly of them too, having them
published in 1727; they were his only music to be printed during his lifetime. In the preface to his edition, Roman referred to
the sonatas as ‘youthful works’, which should not imply artistic immaturity but may indicate that they had been written in
England. He also includes a quotation from Cicero to the effect that although he wishes the sonatas to appeal to amateur musicians, they should be taken seriously, and approached only by dilettantes in the best, old-fashioned sense of the term, wellversed in both style and technique. Having spent some time in England, where he made associations with Geminiani and
Handel, among others, by then he had returned to his homeland and that year became leader of the court orchestra in Stockholm. Handel’s influence undoubtedly travelled with him, not only in the German composer’s works which he promoted at home but in the galant style of his instrumental music which is formally more
innovative than many of his Baroque contemporaries, and lighter in texture. Indeed, the last movement of the Sonata No.12 contains a direct quotation from Handel’s F major Sonata Op.1.
Jed Wentz and Musica ad Rhenum have made a series of fine Baroque‐music recordings for Brilliant Classics, including
CPE Bach, JS Bach, Couperin, Telemann, Handel and several lesser-known names. Of their recent release of CPE Bach’s flute
sonatas (BC94323), Gramophone’s critic remarked that ‘I can’t imagine them being played with more aplomb or artistic
Johan Helmich Roman (1694‐1758) is called the “Father of Swedish music” and also the “Swedish Handel”. And with good reason, as his instrumental works match Handel’s chamber music in charm, virtuosity formal structure and tunefulness. In fact Roman met Handel during his stay in England, and
Roman’s admiration for the master is evident.
No better advocate for these somewhat neglected works than Jed Wentz and his musical companions of Musica ad Rhenum. Not only are they thoroughly aware of the stylistic details of the music and its performance, but they also hugely enjoy themselves playing these flute sonatas, written “for the advanced dilettante, well versed in style and technique” (as Roman
himself describes it).
Excellent liner notes by Jed Wentz (a fine player as well as an eminent scholar).