Albert Franz Doppler (1821-1883)
Program note written by Jacob Farmer
Approximate Performance Time:
Intermediate Advanced – appropriate advanced high school students and college undergraduates
James Galway, Charles Gerhardt & National Philharmonic Orchestra. Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise, Op. 26. Sony Music, 2013. MP3.
“Albert Franz Doppler: Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise.” MakingMusic (n.d.): n. pag. Louisville Orchestra. Web. 26 Sept. 2016. https://www.ius.edu/oglecenter/files/pdfs/MM-Concert-Guide16.pdf.
Albert Franz Doppler was one of the great flute players of the romantic era. Born 1821 of an oboe player and composer in Poland, he enjoyed familial musical experiences, playing flute duets with his four-year younger brother Karl. Both Albert and Karl Doppler joined the orchestra of the German Theater in 1838. While he enjoyed composing flute music, he also produced several operas, Benyoszky (1847) being his first. His other Hungarian operas were quite popular. Doppler stayed in Vienna through the rest of his life, taught at the Conservatory, and stayed involved with the Imperial Opera. Doppler died in 1883 in Baden, Austria.
Doppler’s Fantaisie pastorale hongroise was originally written for two flutes and piano, most likely inspired by the concert tours that Doppler and his brother played together. The final version of the piece ended up being composed for flute and piano. James Galway created an arrangement for flute and orchestra, now the most played version of Doppler’s work. This work is based off of the folk tunes of Hungary. Most listeners will immediately think of gypsies when they hear the overly romantic and theatrical melodies. The piece starts with an improvisatory flute melody throughout the range of the instrument. Throughout the duration of the piece, the tempo and liveliness builds up. The melody changes from the minor-mode to a major-mode and is more animated. The flute line is embedded with embellishments and has a short cadenza in the middle of the movement. After the cadenza, the flute starts off in a drunken haze growing in intensity and speed. The final melody has a Hungarian dance feel and gets faster and faster until the grandiose ending of the piece.