The Duruflé Prélude, Récitatif and Variations,
an early work, is for the complete trio. The sea seems to have played a strong
part in its inspiration and a certain marine urgency infuses its pages. The
uncannily Baxian viola part is strongly conveyed. A waywardly emotional tune
is but one of the plums in this tripartite piece - intense and varied in
mood. The finale has chattering harp arpeggiation; not at all a piece for
Noel Gallon is a name completely unknown to me. His four movement suite comprises
a Mediterranean Syrinx-like Sérénade (had the
composer heard Rachmaninov's second symphony, I wonder?), a jauntily charming
Vif, an easygoing Nocturne and an optimistic Danse.
The whole suite is treasurable and well worth the recitalist's attention
as well as Classic FM for excerpting purposes. Later comes his musingly sad
Improvisation et Rondo for flute and piano.
There are two pieces by Rhené-Baton (1879-1940) better known as a
conductor. Passacaille is a thoughtful meander in a style influenced
by Ravel - very imaginative! The Bourrée is a country dance
which relaxes into a contented bask in the sun; drowsing not sleeping.
Reynaldo Hahn is better known (if at all) for his songs and by some for his
piano concerto recorded by Hyperion and EMI. His Romanesque is like
a medieval chant, rippling and flowing attractively in antique style.
The last three tracks are given over to Ropartz's Sonatine. The
Très Moderé is thoughtful, Très lent a
brimming reflective rock pool and the final Assez vif is lively with
its closing pages tumultuous with 'pealing bells'.
Larsen has recorded eight other flute CDs for ClassicO.
In common with the three ClassicO volumes of French orchestral CDs this one
carries a surreal Dali-esque painting by the Antibes-based artist, Giovanni
Pelliciolli. The leaflet, two pages of English-only notes translated by Mary
Sorensen, give the bare bones of background on some of the pieces.
All but the Duruflé and Hahn (which add a viola to the usual duo)
are for flute and piano.
This is a by no means bland collection with some unpredictable elements for
those, like me, who had decided what this disc was going to sound like long
before they heard it.