J.A. & J.F. Groneman: Rococo Flute Music

J.A. & J.F. Groneman: Rococo Flute Music
Composer Johannes Albertus Groneman, Johannes Fredericus Groneman
Artist Jed Wentz traverso
Marion Moonen traverso
Balázs Máté cello
Marcelo Bussi harpsichord
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 97002
EAN code 5028421970028
Release August 2024

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About this release

18th-century sonatas by a pair of musical brothers, in stylish historically informed performances from 1994.

Very little music by the brothers Groneman is known in modern times beyond the pieces on this album, which have survived simply because of their popularity with flautists of their day. Pleasing both to hear and to play, these sonatas exert an additional fascination today for the insights they give into the taste and technique of the 18th-century flautist.

Johannes Albertus Groneman (c.1708-1781) and Johannes Fredericus Groneman (1711-1778) were both probably born in Cologne, where their father was a military-band musician. Albertus developed his skill as a violinist beyond mere proficiency, and left to ply his trade as a jobbing musician in what is now the Netherlands. Having settled in Leiden around 1731, he wrote virtuosic pieces for violin and flute which proved popular enough to be published and republished in London and Paris. He performed throughout Holland, and then moved from Leiden to The Hague, where he was awarded a lucrative and coveted position as church organist.

This career of steady accomplishment and gathering renown came to a sudden and tragic end in 1756 when he was committed to an asylum, where he lived out his days in penury. Meanwhile Fredericus is a much more shadowy figure to us: the three books of his flute sonatas listed in contemporary publishers' catalogues have disappeared, as have any details of his life and career. Of his gifts as a musician, there can be no doubt, to judge from the sonatas presented here, showing as they do an up-to-date knowledge of the latest musical trends set by masters such as Tartini and Geminiani, and yet display an expressive style entirely their own.

Likewise, the two flute duets by Albertus Groneman demonstrate why his music proved to be so popular during his lifetime: they are in turn gracious, surprising, virtuosic and sweetly-singing, and display the full range of the flute's possibilities. Like Telemann's duets of the same period, they are full of fantasy and .wit and testify not only to the worthiness of their creator, but also to the taste of the 18th century flutist who loved them so well.

Originally issued on the Dutch label NM Classics, this reissue restores a valuable window into the vibrant culture of chamber music in 18th-century Holland, performed by specialists in the field.

- Johannes Albertus Groneman (baptized 1711-1778) and his brother Johannes Fredericus were born in Hamm (Germany) into a musical family. They enjoyed an education typical of musician's sons in the 18th century, learning from their father the trade, playing several instruments and instructed in composition, harmony and singing. Through his teacher Carl Rosier Albertus was introduced in the Netherlands, where he settled in Utrecht in 1729, later moving to Leiden. It is during this Leiden period that most of Groneman's music which survived, and indeed probably all of the music of this recording, was composed. Upon his arrival in the famous university town, Groneman was able to establish himself with ease in the highest social circles, enjoying the friendship and patronage of patricians and professors, while wealthy merchants and musicians of international repute became godparents to his children. He bought a Stradivarius violin and an especially beautiful harpsichord made by famous Flemish harpsichord maker Ruckers. He published virtuoso music for violin and flute which proved popular enough to be published and republished in London and Paris.
- The Flute Sonatas consist of three movements, brilliant allegros framing a melancholy and moving andante full of bold harmonies. The style is gracious and sweetly-singing, displaying the full range of the flute's brilliant possibilities.
- Performed by Jed Wentz (flute), a pioneer in the performance practice of notably French Baroque music for his instrument. His many recordings for Brilliant Classics (J.S. Bach and C.P.E. Bach, Blavet, Couperin, Boismortier, Braun, Roman) have established him as one of the foremost interpreters in this field.
- Recorded in 1994, a reissue from the NM Classics catalogue, the label for music from the Netherlands.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in D Major: I. Allegro
  2. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in D Major: II. Andante
  3. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in D Major: III. Menuetto con variazioni
  4. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: I. Allegro
  5. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: II. Andante
  6. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: III. Presto
  7. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in E Minor: I. Allegro
  8. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in E Minor: II. Andante
  9. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in E Minor: III. Presto
  10. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: I. Allegro
  11. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: II. Andante
  12. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: III. Allegro
  13. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in D Major: I. Largo
  14. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in D Major: II. Presto
  15. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in D Major: III. Andante
  16. Johannes Albertus Groneman: Sonata in D Major: IV. Allegro
  17. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: I. Adagio
  18. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: II. Allegro
  19. Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Sonata in G Major: III. Spiritoso