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New Schubert Works For Flute & Strings / Stallman, Martinu Quartet

Robert Stallman, Flute; Martinu Quartet
Release Date: 11/23/2009 
Label:  Bogner's Cafè   Catalog #: 103  
Composer:  Franz Schubert
Performer:  Robert Stallman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Martinu String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SCHUBERT (trans. Stallman) Piano Sonata in E?, D 568. Violin Sonata: in A, D 574. 1 Violin Sonatina in g, D 408 Robert Stallman (fl); Lubomír Havlák (vn); Jan Jíša (va); Karel Untermüller (va); 1 Jitka Vlašánková (vc) Read more class="ARIAL12"> BOGNER’S CAFÉ 103 (66:56)


Robert Stallman is a man on a mission, inspired, first and foremost, by his abiding love of our musical heritage and his desire to illuminate it in new and telling ways, and second by his need (as in the case of all flutists), to expand the comparatively small repertoire for his instrument. Toward that second end he has been, from his formative years, an inveterate transcriber of music originally conceived for other instruments (see my feature article in Fanfare 31:1: “Nourishing Musical Fare from Bogner’s Café”). This release, also under the imprimatur of his label, Bogner’s Café, is titled “New Schubert, Works for Flute & Strings,” and presents the latest news from his ongoing musical odyssey. As in the case of the Mozart transcriptions cited in the article, this offering is of the highest order in terms of its artwork and program notes. Then there are Stallman’s performances—elegant in phrasing, faultless in articulation, and beautiful in tone, more accurately, subtly modulated tones always tailored to the moment-by-moment needs of the music.


These three Schubert pieces are from the brink of his consummate mastery. Transcribing them—the Piano Sonata in E? (D 565) for flute and string trio; the Violin Sonata in A (D 574) for flute, violin, two violas, and cello; and the Violin Sonatina in G Minor (D 408) for flute and string trio—presents challenges beyond those found in Stallman’s previous foray into Mozart. When he composed these three works, Schubert was altering his harmonic vocabulary. He was becoming less dependent on the traditional tonic/dominant relationship, and enriching it with a new scheme based on thirds that enabled him to modulate to tonally far away places, and back again, at the proverbial flick of the wrist. Though these new relationships are audible in Schubert’s original scores, here they are brought out far more vividly. Listening to these transcriptions, one realizes that the masterpieces of his final years, including the Ninth Symphony, the last few darkly colored string quartets, the Octet, and the unutterably poignant String Quintet, didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Their groundwork was clearly laid far earlier than we had thought.


These transcriptions are not, as might otherwise be expected, mere vehicles for a virtuoso flutist with secondary string accompaniment, but, as in the case of the Mozart offering, totally integrated chamber works. All voices are treated as equally essential, and the give and take between Stallman and his Czech string players is, in and of itself, a joy to hear. The result is Schubert in the round, captured in excellent sound that not only clearly delineates each musical line, but also places it in a graciously warm acoustical surround. Stallman instinctively knows that Schubert is, even in his most monumental works, a profoundly intimate musical voice, and that verity comes through here with striking eloquence.


Since Bogner’s Café is a private label (most of the best ones are these days), it can be most conveniently accessed on the Internet through arkivmusic.com or through bognerscafe.com. In both his transcription work and his playing, Robert Stallman is a teacher. Rarely has Yours Truly found learning something new as illuminating and musically satisfying.


FANFARE: William Zagorski
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Piano in E flat major, D 568/Op. posth 122 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Robert Stallman (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Martinu String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: Arranged for flute and strings by Robert Stallman.
Violist: Karel Untermüller 
2. Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, D 574/Op. 162 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Robert Stallman (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Martinu String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1817; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: Arranged for flute and strings by Robert Stallman.
Violist: Karel Untermüller 
3. Sonatina for Violin and Piano in G minor, D 408/Op. 137 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Robert Stallman (Flute)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Martinu String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1816; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: Arranged for flute and strings by Robert Stallman.
Violist: Karel Untermüller 

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