Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

A New Sound for a New Millennium
Variations on Trockne Blumen
PROKOFIEV Sonata no. 2,
Op 94
Andrew Anson (flute), Alastair Lilley (piano).
Claudio Records CR4942-2 [53.25]

This is an attractive disc.

The Schubert is an introduction and nine variations on the 18th song from Die Schöne Müllerin. It is typical Schubert, pretty, predictable and lacking both in development and contrast and often with that hideous Schubertian piano vamping style. It is hard to believe that he was a pupil of the great Salieri. The music is all the same and desperately tedious. One variation was so awfully banal it sounded liked Ten Green Bottles Hanging On a Wall. Dreadful music.

It is beautifully played but I will not want to hear it again.

The Sonatine of Pierre Sancan is a different proposition. He was born in Mazamet in 1916 and was a professor at the Paris Conservatoire. He was a gifted pianist and wrote well for his instrument including a fine Piano Concerto. The sleeve note more than suggests that this Sonatine follows in the sparkling line of Ibert. Oh dear, such contrasts are a real turn off!

The piano part is very difficult and the piece is more reminiscent of that finest of composers for the flute, Albert Roussel. But the integration of the instruments makes for a fine weave and as far as I can judge the performance is both committed and very fine. Although it lasts only nine minutes it is not lightweight but very 'deep' and repeated hearings endeared it to me even more. The andante espressivo is a marvellous contrast of emotions all of which this splendid duo capture from the sound of rippling waters to hot sunny countrysides and the great outdoors where the golden corn is hardly troubled by the light breeze. The tessituras on the flute have a secure intonation. The final section, tempo anime, bustles along in concertante fashion. I would not want to even try to play the piano part!

It is always a problem putting a programme together for a CD. What we have here is marvellous Sancan and terrible Schubert and then this impressive sonata by Prokofiev. I thought it should have a little more 'bite' but it is very well played and for thematic material and development it is the best work on the disc. The presto middle movement has to be heard to be believed. I was a little concerned at the over-recording of some top notes in the first movement.

Andrew Anson studied with the incomparable Susan Milan and has a wide range of musical interests including jazz and pop but let us hope that we do not lose him to those forms. Alistair Lilley is a fine pianist and, fortunately, not demonstrative in the Barenboim or Curzon fashion, but he is very secure. He is also a very good musician. He studied with Bernard Roberts and the organist Margaret Philips at the Royal College of Music where he also studied conducting. He is currently spending a year with the National Opera Studio.

Ignoring the Schubert, which is all we can do with it, I recommend this disc. The Pierre Sancan is the winner.

David Wright



Claudio Records

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: - The UK's Biggest Video Store Concert and Show tickets
Musicians accessories
Click here to visit