Uwe Grodd & Matteo Napoli (NZ/ Italy)Uwe Grodd & Matteo Napoli - New Plymouth 04/08/2005


F Ries          'Sonate Sentimentale op 169'
F Schubert   'Dry Flowers' Variations
F Kuhlau      'Euryanthe' Variations

Presented by Taranaki Festival of the Arts

Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace

Friday 5th of August

Review 6 Aug 2005:


Daily News New Plymouth

By Harry Brown



Flautist Uwe Grodd and pianist Matteo Napoli are welcome guests in New Plymouth, as testified by another full Theatre Royal.

And it’s easy to see why – good programming, then good playing.

The recital, entitled The Romantic Flute , featured music from the early heyday of the instrument, the late 18th century and early 19th century.


Showy figuration, often at breakneck speed, and expansive melody was all the rage, with variation form providing a ready vehicle for soloists.

So it was that we were treated to two sets of variations, the first by Schubert  on his song Dry Flowers. It was sombre at first, then suddenly overwhelmed the ear with passage work to wonder at ; Napoli , particularly, at the piano dealing with the fearsome octavo work mingling with dashing figures from the flute. Occasionally, the combined rhythms were not quite as one, but it build to triumphant partnership in the joy of the march-like finale.

Kuhalus’ variations were based upon a theme of Weber, from the same period as Schubert but more extrovert still when, after the gentle Andante, the players burst into holiday mood with the six variations of glittering keyboard and magical moments from the flute.

Sandwiched between these variation sets, perhaps the best playing was reserved for the Sonata Sentimental by Ferdinand Ries. Nineteenth century variations tend to cling closely to the original theme, decorating and embellishing it, but the sonata form structure encourages deeper writing, playing and a listening experience that has spanned three centuries.


And this was Grodd at his best, wondrously skilled in the swifter movements, pensive, poignant in the Adagio, and backed by great playing from Napoli , who obviously enjoyed the Steinway grand. Encore? Schubert’s well-looved Serenade.