Friday, August 31, 2012

Serenata Concertante op. 105

The Serenata Concertante is absolutely one of my favorite pieces of any genre. The 22-minute composition in six movements was written by Anton Diabelli (1781 - 1858) and makes use of flute, guitar, and viola. I've found that in classical music I gravitate towards material performed by small ensembles featuring interesting combinations of instruments, so it's no surprise I responded to this work.

Diabelli was an Austrian music publisher and teacher (both guitar and piano), who achieved a great deal of success (he discovered Schubert). Diabelli was also a composer. I first heard of him when I began learning to play one of his sonatinas on the piano. It's one of my favorite pieces to play and, because it's a longer piece, I got a wonderful sense of accomplishment after taking the time to learn it. However, from what I gather, classical music aficionados regard Diabelli as a minor composer.

Be that as may, I fell in love with the Serenata Concertante and several other pieces he wrote when I purchased the pictured Finnish CD recorded in 1997. The music on this CD has the further attraction of being played on period instruments: a copy of a flute from around 1800, an 1838 guitar, and a viola form 1817.

I usually play the Serenata Concertante just as Spring starts.  For me, the opening flute lines in the first movement suggest leaves just opening or flowers poking up out of the soil. There is a light feel to the composition overall that suggests the gentleness and warmth of a Spring breeze, and the piece often becomes joyously carefree. Just the way I feel after we emerge from five or six months of winter and snow!

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