en-Konzertstück n°1 de Mendelssohn (for 2 flutes and piano)
Neglected by the composers of the 19th century, who preferred the clarinet and the horn to the flute for their sound that was both wider and darker, several flautists took over the work of Mendelssohn, from whom they transcribed various works for their instrument.
Théobald Böhm was thus the instigator, as evidenced by his adaptation for two flutes and piano of two of the Berlin composer's Lieder for two sopranos and piano. Later flautists such as Jean-Pierre Rampal, Andras Adorjan and Janos Balint revived the Violin Concerto opus 64 in E minor, Wilhelm Barge and Benoît Fromanger the Romances without words, and Joseph Henri Altès the Sonata opus 4 in F minor initially dedicated to violin and piano. The transcription for two flutes and piano of the first Konzerstück originally composed for clarinet, basset horn and piano is therefore an extension of the approach initiated by Böhm in his time. In order to give the interpreters of this transcription the possibility of getting closer to the original work, the score presents, in addition to a part of 2nd Flute, a part of G-Flute. It thus makes it possible to preserve an idea of contrast of timbre and tessitura between the two solo instruments.
It was on the occasion of an international tour which brought them to Berlin on December 3, 1832, that the two famous Munich clarinettists Heinrich-Josef and Carl Baermann, respectively father and son, visited Mendelssohn. Sensitive to their talent as an interpreter, the composer, who had formed a deep friendship with them, wrote that day and dedicated his 1st Konzerstück to them. Gourmets, the three friends would have engaged in a "competition" opposing a culinary work produced by Carl and a musical work composed by Félix. Dampfelnudel and Rahmstrudel, typically Austro-Bavarian desserts that Félix loved, were to compete with a piece of chamber music, in a spirit of re-enactment of the Battle of Prague (1757) which once opposed the Prussians and the Austrians.
« Die Schlacht bei Prag :
Ein groβes Duett für Dampfelnudel oder Rahmstrudel, Klarinett und Bassethorn / componirt und gemüthig dediciert an Bärmann Senior und Bärmann Junior von uhrem ganz ergebenen Bartholdy »
The Battle of Prague:
A great duet for Dampfelnudel and Rahmstrudel, clarinet and basset horn / composed and humbly dedicated to Bärmann Senior and Bärmann Junior by your very devoted Bartholdy.
The composer, who indicated "Bärlin 30 Dec 1832" in allusion to the Bärmanns (Bär meaning "bear"), left to posterity the subject of this funny day in the very pages of the score.
Paris, December 2017,
Laëtitia Brault and Jean-Christophe Maltot