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Brilliant Classics

Ries/ Duo Estense/ Cellini - Sonatas for Flute & Piano

Ries/ Duo Estense/ Cellini - Sonatas for Flute & Piano

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The figure of Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) enjoys a peripheral familiarity among music-lovers as the friend and amanuensis of Beethoven. A bond had formed when Ries's father Franz taught Beethoven in Bonn. While Beethoven doubtless cast his eye over his friend and student's pieces from time to time, he sent Ries to his own teacher Johann Albrechtsberger for lessons in composition. The Sonata Sentimentale appears to mark the high-point of the composer's writing for the flute, which extended to several 'earlier'-sounding sonatas and lighter fantasias as well as flute-centric chamber music such as six quartets for flute and string trio. Here, to a degree unprecedented in the rest of his work, the flautist is the star of the show. The three Sonatas Op.86, on the other hand, are evidently designed for performers of more modest talents: 'Sonates faciles' as they were designated on the title page of their first publication in 1839. This set dates with fair certainty from London in 1819, and Ries appears to have composed it with the profitable market of proficient amateurs in mind. According to manuscript dates the Sonatinas Op.5 were the last works on this album to be composed, in London in 1821, published two years later there by Muzio Clementi. The rippling 'Alberti bass' sequences in the left hand, the preponderance of moderate tempi and straightforward two- and three-part textures, lying well under the fingers, indicate that Ries had in mind the same public market for these attractively sunny pieces as the Op.86 sonatas.

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