Roman: The 12 flute sonatas: Nos. 1–5

Dan Laurin voice flute, Paradiso Musicale
70:04
BIS-2105 SACD

The Swedish composer Johan Helmich Roman’s twelve flute sonatas were published in Stockholm in 1727, the year in which he was appointed as court Kapellmeister. Telemann advertised that he was the agent for their sale in Hamburg and praised them “for their lively and very charming composition” and for the quality of the printing (which you can see on the IMSLP web site). Roman claimed that they were youthful works so they may have been composed during his prolonged stay in London from 1716 to 1721 where he studied, played the violin for Handel and would have encountered Italian music and musicians. They certainly pre-date his visit to Italy but he owned and translated into Swedish Gasparini’s L’armonico pratico al cimbalo which was first published in Venice in 1708. This fact has been used to justify harpsichordist Anna Paradiso’s colourful and often dissonant continuo playing, which in any case is invited by Roman’s dramatic style of composition. This is flute music of a high quality which works well on the voice flute (tenor recorder in D), avoiding the need for transposition. The SACD sound is so good that you can hear Dan Laurin’s breathing and a faint jingle from the harpsichord but this should not put you off this excellent recording. The disc forms part of a series of recordings of Roman’s music by the same musicians and I look forward to hearing their performances of the remaining seven sonatas in the set.

Victoria Helby