Three composers can be heard on this recording: Jean-Louis Tulou (1786-1865) and two of his students: Jules Demerssemann (1833-1866) and Jean Donjon (1821-1912). Tulou and Demerssemann left countless concertos and virtuosic solo pieces and between 1832 and 1860, every obligatory test piece for the yearly exam at the Paris Conservatoire was composed by Tulou.
These are not included here, instead, Pan Classics have chosen two types of piece: those composed for the music connoisseur, such as the ’Petite fantaisie poétique’ or the ’Boléro’ by Demerssemann; and those based on virtuosic opera arias, rewritten in ’simple’ versions for flute and piano for performance in the Parisian salons, like Tulou’s ’La Cavatine de Zelmira’ (in effect, a piano concerto with flute accompaniment) or ’Le café du roi’. Demerssemann’s ’L’hommage à Tulou’ ends in wild variations that contrast with the beautiful, unpretentious melodic lines, which fit Godfroy’s flute well. Tulou’s ’Duo Concertant’ op. 72 for two flutes mixes light music with serious passages that betray the influence of Beethoven. In the score of Demerssemann’s Deuxième Sonate op. 23, the tempi, character and nuances are indicated with great precision, thus providing fascinating evidence for interpretation and playing style at that time, even if simultaneously restricting modern-day artistic expression. Lastly, we have the ’Etudes de salon et solos ou caprices pour la flûte seule’ by Jean Donjon, an advocate of the new Boehm flute and therefore a representative of the transition into the new era.
In addition to the musical concerns which governed the selection of the repertoire, these works are interpreted on historical instruments. Historical fingering charts preserved in contemporary flute tutors were also instructive.