Bogner’s Café, the label with the fresh take on old-world classics, is proud to offer this exclusive, first-ever recording: Stallman’s recreations of some of Mozart’s greatest music, as featured in FANFARE Magazine and heard on NPR’s “Performance Today” and “Weekend Edition.”
With his arrival on the New York scene in the early 80s, SHOW BUSINESS called flutist Robert Stallman “a flawless joy to the ear and the spirit,” and since then his solo recordings and his live performances in the Americas, Europe, China and Japan have established Stallman internationally as a most remarkable artist. AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE has called Stallman “a consummate artist”, and a BBC critic notes that “Stallman’s claim to a special place among the world’s masters of the flute rests in the daring artistry he demands of himself in every situation.” His achievements include recitals and chamber music concerts in major venues around the world from New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall to London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall; invitations to many international festivals such as Mostly Mozart (New York), Musique à Cimiez (France), Dubrovnik (Croatia) Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic), and Kuhmo (Finland); solo performances with the American Symphony, Strings of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and other orchestras, as well as collaborations with such artists as Jean-Pierre Rampal, Richard Goode, John Williams, Placido Domingo. His honors include a Fulbright grant to study at the Paris Conservatoire, a Koussevitsky Fellowship, a soloist grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and listings in the INTERNATIONAL WHO’S WHO IN MUSIC and WHO’S WHO IN AMERICA. In addition, Stallman, with currently over 70 performing editions and arrangements published by distinguished houses in the US and Europe, is widely considered to be the preeminent editor and arranger of flute music active today. Prior to the 2007 launch of the Bogner’s Café label, Robert Stallman released universally acclaimed recordings for ASV, VAI, Arco Diva, Biddulph, MHS, CBS Masterworks and others.
"It takes quite an act of courage to transcribe any Mozart. Also consider that these transcriptions are of pieces from the consummate mastery phase of Mozart’s career, and one has to conclude that the transcriber is either exceptionally foolhardy, or has something akin to a death wish. Robert Stallman has been adapting non-flute music for his instrument from the very start of his career. His motivations have been several: to enlarge the comparatively limited repertoire for his instrument; to bring to the public lesser known, but eminently worthy, music; and to explore the realm of musical possibility. Given what I hear here, Stallman has brought off all of those aims admirably. It may seem like a conjurer’s trick, but it is actually the result of deep musical insight, an abiding appreciation of Mozart’s style, and, quite apparently, loving labor. Comparing these transcriptions with their originals will prove revelatory. The piano is a percussive instrument unable to sustain a tone in the manner of the winds or strings. By applying those sustaining instruments to Mozart’s voice leading in effect connects the dots, making Mozart’s harmonic structure really shine. Then there is the matter of Stallman’s flute-playing—effortless articulation, pellucid tone, and stylish phrasing. In this day and age, when so many authentic-instrument practitioners chop up the music’s long lines, Stallman makes them soar. The result is both an homage to Mozart and a case of musical illumination. Recommended to Mozarteans everywhere." —FANFARE Magazine
“BRILLIANT STALLMAN…In [the Mozart Flute Quartet] the American flutist Robert Stallman played with a liveliness and brilliance that was incomparable. It is a well-known fact that the flute was not one of Mozart’s favorite instruments (perhaps he never heard but mediocre flutists) and I myself, thus joining good company, have never gotten very close with the instrument. However, after listening to a master like Stallman, even the most doubting should change their minds.” --KALEVA, Finland
NOTES: About the New Mozart Arrangements
I began to experiment with recreating Mozart piano sonatas as works for flute and strings in the early 90s, thanks to a dare from a disgruntled violist friend during a rehearsal of one such Mozart transcription by Franz Anton Hoffmeister. My colleague had complaints about Hoffmeister’s awkward string writing, and I had my own misgivings about his alterations of the original melodic and harmonic material. So I soon dropped my scruples about treading on hallowed ground, and dug in. Before I knew it, I was hooked on learning to speak Mozart’s dialect with conviction. The challenge pursued me for a number of years—in airports, airplanes, trains, on vacations, etc. As result there are by now a total of twenty-eight recreations of Mozart piano works as quartets or quintets for flute and strings, six of which are already published with more on the way.
It is possible to hear many of the sonatas as if they were Mozart’s own keyboard “blueprints” of imagined chamber works. So my approach has been to envision what Mozart himself would have done, based on what we hear him doing elsewhere, to expand the keyboard versions into more full-bodied arrangements. To make quintets from the four-hand sonatas, of course I had to flesh out a continuous fifth voice from the composer’s occasional hints or implications. I spent many hours imagining how Mozart might have set these movements in five-part form, providing the needed textural or contrapuntal enhancements. So the search for those “ah-hah” moments, when the “right” solution pops into place, became an exciting sort of treasure hunt.
I recently learned that in 1935, Eric Blom (editor of Grove Dictionary’s fifth edition) saw the potential of these four-hand piano works as chamber music. In his book on Mozart, he mentions that an arrangement of the F major Sonata (K. 497) “would make a magnificent concert work of this almost uncomfortably great piece of domestic music.” Robert Stallman