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CD: AmazonUS

Diverse Voices: American Music for Flute
Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Duo for Flute and Piano (1971) [13:24]
Lowell LIEBERMANN (b. 1961)
Sonata op 23(1987) [13:28]
Paul SCHOENFIELD (b. 1947)
Achat Sha’alti (1991) [3:28]
Ufaratsta (1991) [2:00]
This Floating World (2004) [8:50]
Roberto SIERRA
Sonata No 1 (2003) [10:45]
Linda Chatterton (flute)
John Jensen (piano)
rec. 2007, UCB In Kensington, California. DDD
Experience Classicsonline

This disc of American contemporary flute music demonstrates a range of styles, and includes some well-known pieces - such as those by Copland and Liebermann - as well as some more unusual repertoire.

The disc opens with Copland’s Duo, an enjoyable piece which makes use of the composer’s expansive harmony to give a sense of space and the American landscape. This is a lyrical piece with song-like qualities, especially in the central slow movement, and a folk-influenced finale. I felt Chatterton’s performance took some time to settle. The first movement felt a little hurried but there was some expressive phrasing in the middle movement, especially towards the end. The final movement is fast-paced and played with conviction, but some of the accented articulation lacks clarity. Chatterton’s tone is bright and suits the style of the music well. The piano playing is strong throughout and gives a punchy jazz-inflected feel to the final movement.

The mysterious opening of Liebermann’s Sonata is well handled, giving a sense of foreboding with hypnotic repetitions in the piano under a floating flute melody. The dramatic outbursts are bright and strong, before returning to the original character. The virtuoso second movement is well controlled and full of sparkle. This is an explosive and energetic rendition which works well.

Paul Schoenfield’s pieces are arrangements from his Six Improvisations on Hasidic Melodies, originally composed for solo piano. There is a gentleness in the writing of the first piece, Achat Sha’alti, which comes through well in the playing from both flute and piano. The second piece, Ufaratsa is more complex and displays more technical fireworks from both players.

Edie Hill’s This Floating World is a dramatic work for solo flute. Based on a set of five Haiku, the music falls into short sections. The opening is wild and dramatic, using the top register and staccato pitches very effectively. The atmosphere changes to demonstrate a range of tone colours, beginning slowly and building into a frenzy, and the piece alternates between fast moving passages and expressive long phrases. This is a fluid and dynamic piece which serves as a wonderful showpiece for the flute and its player. Linda Chatterton gives a convincing performance which brings the music to life.

The disc ends with Roberto Sierra’s Sonata, a three movement work in traditional fast-slow-fast form. The piece is based on two sets of four notes, which reappear throughout the three movements without becoming repetitive or predictable. The rapid first movement is dramatic and bright, while the expressive second movement is more gentle but equally flowing, performed with a lightness of touch which appeals. The Latin-inspired final movement features dance rhythms and explosive gestures. Sierra’s compositional style is mature and full of substance, and this is a fascinating work.

Chatterton’s playing comes into its own in the second half of the disc, while John Jensen proves an excellent pianist throughout, with strongly rhythmic playing giving a sense of energy. The Sierra and Hill are particularly impressive and this is an excellent disc for anyone interested in exploring new American flute repertoire.

Carla Rees 



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