Серенада для флейты, скрипки и альта D-dur, Opus 25

Время создания: 1801 г.

Entrata. Allegro
Tempo ordinario d’un menuetto
Allegro molto
Andante con variazioni
Allegro scherzando e vivace
Adagio. Allegro vivace e disinvolto

Karlheinz Zoeller, флейта
Thomas Brandis, скрипка
Siegbert Ueberschaer, альт

For listeners to whom Beethoven means the heroic Beethoven of the Third Symphony or the humanist Beethoven of Fidelio or the transcendent Beethoven of the Missa Solemnis or the philosophic Beethoven of the late quartets, this 2006 disc by England's Gaudier Ensemble will come as a shock -- a pleasant shock but still a shock. Featuring three relatively early and comparatively unknown chamber works for various combinations of winds, strings, and piano, this Beethoven is witty, charming, sensitive, and altogether captivating. As performed here with deft technique and ineffable delight by the Gaudier Ensemble, the dry humor of the Opus 11 Trio for clarinet, cello, and piano's closing variations on an aria from Weigl's L'amour marinaro, the laugh-out-loud humor of the Opus 16 Quintet for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn's opening Grave -- Allegro ma non troppo, and the effervescent humor of the Opus 25 Serenade for flute, violin, and viola's closing Adagio-Allegro vivace e disinvolto -- Presto are all absolutely enthralling. If Beethoven had not lived to write anything after the Opus 25, he would be remembered as a no less worthy albeit a wholly different composer. Hyperion's sound is rich, warm, and lucid with plenty of detail and lots of depth.

(James Leonard, Rovi, answers.com)

Although it was common in the early nineteenth century to play Beethoven's string quartets with a flute replacing one of the violins, Beethoven wrote very little original chamber music for flute. Aside from a couple of sets of variations and a pair of dance movements, his only mature and substantial flute piece is the Serenade, Op. 25. The instrumentation is oddly bass-shy, with the viola providing the lowest voice. In 1803 Beethoven arranged this work as a duo for flute or violin with piano, and published it as his Op. 41.

The Serenade is in six concise movements in the form of a Classical divertimento, but exchanging the customary second minuet for a scherzo. The first movement, Entrada: Allegro, is a perky march. Most of the music is based on the chipper motto stated at the very beginning by the flute, although slightly smoother material offers some contrast midway through. The second movement, Tempo ordinario d'un Minuetto, is a graceful minuet that periodically loses its dignity to surprising little Haydnesque "whooshes" in the strings. Those strings, by the way, have the first trio section to themselves, with some quick and intricate two-part writing. The second trio is a fleet showcase of the flute, with modest string accompaniment.

Third comes an Allegro molto, a stormy interlude in an ABA pattern, the central "eye" of the mini-hurricane providing a calmer, if hesitant, dialogue between the flute and strings. The serenade's most extended movement is the Andante con variazioni, which begins with a string hymn that the flute joins only upon the melody's second statement. The first variation reshapes the theme into something reminiscent of the slow movement of Haydn's "Emperor" Quartet. The tempo picks up in the jaunty second variation, and this mood carries into the next variation, which features busy passagework for the strings. All three instruments are better integrated in the following section, although the strings' material is quite similar to what they've just played. A slower treatment of the theme concludes the set, with the melody traded off among the three instruments.

The brief Allegro scherzando e vivace is jittery music that skips lightly up the scale in the outer sections, but it entwines the instruments in smoother material in the middle portion. The serenade ends with an Adagio-a conversation between the double-stopped viola on one side and the flute and violin on the other-which gives way to an Allegro vivace disinvolto that opens with a fluttering melody (first on the flute, then the violin) with an agitated accompaniment. This turns out to be a rondo refrain, alternating with passages that are just as bright but less melodically distinctive.

(All Music Guide)

Serenade in D Major Op. 25 for Flute, Violin and Viola - Revised Edition by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Henle Music Folios. Set of parts. 33 pages. G. Henle #HN370. Published by G. Henle (HL.51480370).

What occasioned Beethoven to write a composition for such an unusual and yet sonorous group of instruments? Was it perhaps commissioned by a nobleman who played music with such a group and needed music? Whatever the reason behind it, opus 25 is one of Beethoven's few chamber music works that did not have a bass instrument. Despite the unusual combination of instruments, Beethoven had no difficulty in finding a publisher for his serenade; shortly afterwards he even turned to the work again and revised an arrangement for flute and piano (op. 41), which had been made by a third party. Our revised edition follows the musical text which will soon be published in volume VI/1 of our new Beethoven Complete Edition.

Sir James Galway collaborates with two outstanding teenage string players on the Beethoven Serenade, Op. 25 during an episode of From the Top on NPR. Watch rehearsal and performance footage to see how Sir James mentors 17-year-old violist Arianna Smith and 17-year-old violinist Kenneth Renshaw: