Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Flute Concerto No.1
Symphony No. 2
Concerto for Saxophone(s).

Pierre-Yves Artaud (flutes)/Emil Sein (saxophones)
University of Huddersfield New Music Ensemble & Symphony Orchestra
Barrie Webb (conductor).
MPS Music and Video CD007 55'21"

MPS Music and Video

This extremely interesting and successful CD, produced by Cary Nutman, emanates from Barrie Webb's association with Romania and the leading Romanian composer Doina Rotaru, who was featured in the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music in 1990. The recordings of the concertos were made in Huddersfield in 1994 & 1995, and the Symphony at a live concert in St Paul's Hall there in 1997. These are excellent professional productions and you would be hard put to it to suspect that they are student forces.

Doina Rotaru (b. 1951) has won many awards and is a professor at Bucharest. Her style is readily accessible and incorporates contemporary methods including 'sound and timbre patterns going back to Romanian folklore as well as symbolic structural principles (circular and spiral shapes, sacred numbers etc)'. Do not let this put you off; composers throughout history have used esoteric techniques with which they do not expect listeners to concern themselves. The flute(s) concerto is the first of four. Pierre-Yves Artaud, in the 80s recognised as one of the very finest flautists for innovative contemporary repertoire, played it in 1988. He subsequently commissioned three more concertos from Doina Rotaru and recorded them all! The soloist doubles piccolo and alto flute, with strings and percussion, and it creates 'a Romanian spiritual climate'. The melodic line of the beginning is supported by heterophonic textures. The second, giocoso giusto, is livelier and the third part subjects archaic Romanian melodic structures to continuous variation.

In the other concerto, its dedicatee, saxophonist Emil Sein, builds incantations on three saxophones, eventually played simultaneously, with seven sections corresponding to the mythological Seven levels to the sky in Romanian folklore.

The second symphony plays continuously in three clearly defined sections. The first descends from high to lowest registers, the second starts with percussion, becomes more dramatic and gives way to shepherds' pipes; the third starts in monody, and adds polyphony and heterophony (a feature of Rotaru's music) with a final alternation of static and pulsating music. Although these sections become evident, certainly on second hearing, it would have been helpful if the CD had more detailed indexing. Otherwise there is nothing to criticise. St Paul's Hall in Huddersfield has enviable acoustics and the recording captures what must have been exciting experiences admirably.
[Enquiries to Barrie Webb at Huddersfield University,]


Peter Grahame Woolf

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Also available by mail order from:-

MPS MUSIC AND VIDEO, Rosegarth, Hetton Road, Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, DH5 8JN. £12.00 for 1 CD, £22.00 for 2 CDs, £10.00 per CD for 3 or more discs (including p & p ). E-mail:


Peter Grahame Woolf

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