Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:


POSMAN (b.1952) - Geen Noodt, sapperloodt! (1997)
CELIS (b. 1929) - Quartetto op.24 (1987)
(b. 1962) - 2 Nocturnes (1994)
Roland CORYN
(b.1938) - 13 Miniatures for flute/piccolo and string quartet (1997)
(b.1960) - Mi-Parti (1999)
MATTHYS (b.1956) - Nocturne & Dance (1998)

Arco Baleno: (Peter Verhoyen flute; Dirk Lievens, Marleen Ydiers violins;
Kaat de Cock viola; Stefaan Craeynest 'cello; Charice Adriaansen double bass)
Rec Feb-July 2000
Rene Gailly CD87 169 [68.04]

Seductive is the word; it's hard to imagine anything sexier than the sound of the alto flute purring quietly amongst the strings in Posman's wonderful little quintet that opens this disc. In its ten minutes or so of duration, the piece evolves imperceptibly, organically, and the alto flute becomes a standard flute, then finally a piccolo. This is an exceptionally satisfying and beautiful work, and is played with consummate skill by Arco Baleno, the Belgian group who have produced this outstanding disc. Posman's title, we are told by the booklet, translates roughly as 'Blimey, don't worry'. Not sure what relevance that has to the content of the piece, except that it may have been composed rather quickly! It's certainly none the worse for it if that's the case.

The Posman was definitely the highlight of this recording for me, but all the other pieces are well worth hearing. The Celis quartet is a rather earnest work, but well constructed and convincing, while the Nocturnes by the youngest composer represented here, Wim Hendrickx, use the double bass in an effective and atmospheric way.

The Coryn Miniatures are fascinating little pieces, some well under a minute long. They are little stylistic cameos, with highly effective writing for the instruments. Swerts' Mi-Parti, with its aleatoric elements, is perhaps not quite so satisfying, but has some extraordinarily evocative sounds. Its middle section features the alto flute against barely audible clusters in muted strings - very striking, and very beautiful.

The Matthys Nocturne and Dance is easily the most 'accessible' work on the disc, with catchy tunes and rhythms and jazzy riffs in the 'cello. It's a bit repetitive, but makes a pleasantly light-hearted conclusion to this highly enjoyable recording.

The playing of flautist Peter Verhoyen and the rest of Arco Baleno is quite outstanding throughout; they perform this difficult contemporary music with such apparent ease that the many beauties to be found here are readily appreciated. Recording quality, too, is exceptionally good. This is an issue which will be irresistible to those interested in good modern music, and should be compulsory listening for all flautists!

Gwyn Parry-Jones

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