The wide ranging musical interests of the flautist Ana Domančić Krstulović are evident in her highly creative approach to the act of interpretation. The creativity of her approach stems from a happy amalgamation of natural talent and excellent training at the core of her artistic personality, together with avid curiosity and a striving for constant improvement.
A native of Hvar, Ana Domančić Krstulović completed secondary school in Split and graduated from the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb under Tinka Muradori. She earned a master's degree from the State University of Music and Performing Arts, Stuttgart, under Klaus Schochow and Aurele Nicolet. She also earned an artist's diploma and doctorate as a Fulbright scholar at the Peabody School of Music in Baltimore under Britton Johnson. She continued her studies with Severino Gazzelloni and Conrad Klemm in Italy, Julius Baker in New York, Andre Jaunet in Switzerland and Alain Marion at the Paris Conservatory. Ana Domančić Krstulović has simultaneously and pursued parallel careers as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician, and teacher. At the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of Split, she teaches flute and chamber music. She is also the author of the first Croatian university textbook for the flute. Among her varied repertory, she has devoted particular attention to contemporary music by Croatian and other composers. A number of compositions have been written at her initiative and many Croatian composers, including Boris Papandopulo, Anđelko Klobučar, Igor Kuljerić and Olja Jelaska, have dedicated works to her. In 2006, she issued a recording devoted to works for flute by the composer Boris Papandopulo on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of his birth. On this compact disc, containing selected works by Italian, French and German composers from the baroque era, is the result of her collaboration with the organist Mario Penzar.
Mario Penzar also shares a lively interest in music of various epochs and stylistic characteristics. Like Ana Domančić Krstulović, Mario Penzar studied under a number of leading teachers. He graduated with a major in organ from the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb in the class of Žarko Dropulić, and from the University of Music and the Performing Arts, Vienna, in the class of Alfred Mitterhofer, where he particularly concentrated on the performance of early music. Mario Penzar is active as both a concert performer and teacher. Since 1992, he has taught organ at the Music Academy of the University of Zagreb. He also performs in various ensembles, including the Duo Attacantilena with the percussionist Igor Lešnik. Mario Penzar has concertized in Croatia, most European countries, Kuwait and the United States. In 1988, he was awarded first prize at the Flor Baron Peeters International Organ Competition held in Mechelen, Belgium. Mario Penzar's artistic interests are equally divided between the interpretation of contemporary music and the study of baroque performance practices.
Among the composers selected for this compact disc, the earliest is George Frederic Handel (1685-1759), the most brilliant representative of the German late baroque besides Johann Sebastian Bach, who is also considered the greatest representative of eighteenth-century English music. During Handel's many years in England, he created an impressive opus and is best known today for his oratorical and operatic compositions, together with an enormous number of works written for various solo instruments, chamber ensembles and orchestras. Many of Handel's chamber compositions are in the form of Italian four-movement sonate da chiesa, while some, e.g., his Trio Sonata Op. 5, with an increased number of movements, approach the form of a suite. The Sonata in A-Minor included on this CD, is from a collection of solo sonatas, Op. 1, originally published in Amsterdam in the year 1722, and is part of a group of four sonatas for flute and basso continuo. Handel's virtuosic and brilliant manuscript confirms not only the extreme technical demands of the composition but also indirectly testifies to the high level of flute playing in his time.
Similar musical interests are also revealed in the opus of an Italian baroque master who was a year younger than Handel, Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739). This Venetian patrician, a lawyer by profession, was also an esteemed composer and poet, a student of Francesco Gasparini and Antonio Lotti, who enjoyed a high reputation as a musician. Like Handel, he composed operas and oratorios, and also contributed to the vociferous discussions about musical drama in his pamphlet entitled Teatro alla moda, published anonymously in Venice in the year 1720. In the field of instrumental music, he left a large number of concerti and sonatas for stringed, woodwind and keyboard instruments. In the year 1732, his collection of 12 sonatas for flute and cello or basso continuo was published in Amsterdam, conceived in the form of four-movement Italian sonate da chiesa with slow introductory movements and final movements played in fast tempos.
Compositions by two French masters of the first half of the eighteenth century complement this selection from the flute literature of the late baroque period. Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764) is recorded in music history as the founder of the French school of violin playing. He was also a dancer in the ballet troop of the Lyon Opera but did not abandon the violin despite his ballet career and extensive travels. As an esteemed violin virtuoso, schooled in the Italian tradition, Jean-Marie Leclair wrote most of his compositions for the violin. The solo parts of his violin sonatas are often performed on the flute.
Leclaire's contemporary Michel Blavet (1700-1768), a native of Besançon, was considered among the most highly esteemed French musicians of his day following his Paris debut. He played several instruments but was most highly regarded as a flute virtuoso. Blavet's compositional legacy contains numerous works written for that instrument, including several sonatas that are generally considered to be masterpieces of early flute literature.
The greatest master of the Italian late baroque, the Venetian musician and priest Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), known as "Il Prete Rosso" (The Red Priest) due to his flame-colored hair, enjoyed an equally distinguished reputation as a composer, violinist and conductor. His artistic activity, which led him to travel extensively throughout Europe as a distinguished violin virtuoso, was connected with the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pieta, an orphanage for poor and illegitimate children, where he taught violin and served as the resident composer. With his enormous opus, comparable to that of J.S. Bach, upon whose works he bore a direct influence, Vivaldi incorporated all the areas of music known at the time: vocal-instrumental (opera, oratorio and cantata) as well as various types of instrumental music. Vivaldi's concerti, of which he wrote over four hundred for nearly all the stringed and wind instruments, are splendid examples of concerti grossi and solo concerti of the Italian late baroque. Among his chamber works, the collection Il pastor fido, Op. 13, for flute and basso continuo is frequently performed. It was published in 1737 in Paris, where Vivaldi's instrumental music was highly regarded.
The last of the selected compositions on this CD is the sonata in D Major from the pen of J.S. Bach's son, C.P.E. Bach, a composer of the transitional period between the baroque and early classical eras. According to the list of his works compiled by Alfred Wotquenne, this sonata is designated as Wq. No. 126, Berlin 1738.
A famous virtuoso and improviser on the harpsichord and clavichord, C.P.E. Bach is particularly remembered as the author of essays on how to play the piano, the first pedagogical piano manual, which influenced all subsequent schools of piano playing. As a composer, C.P.E. Bach was, understandably, focused on keyboard instruments but his rich opus also included compositions for other instruments and various chamber ensembles.