A New Sound for a New Millennium
SCHUBERT Variations on Trockne
PROKOFIEV Sonata no. 2, Op
Andrew Anson (flute), Alastair
Claudio Records CR4942-2
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
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.