Music for flute choir
High School Flute Choir/Danielle Alyssa Boudrot
rec Massachusets 2000
no cat number supplied 2 CDs.
Available from Lynwood Music, 2 Church Street, West Hagley, West Midlands,
DY9 ONA 015 628 86625
This first disc opens with a simply sensual arrangement
of Holst’s I’ll love my love. It is a beautiful melody and played to
perfection; a splendid start to any CD.
The Three Children’s Dances of Luigi Zaninelli are
fine. The central item, the Melancholy Dance, introduced by the bass
flute, is quite something and the final dance is remarkable and, would
you believe it, percussive: wild trills and flutter tonguing. The first
dance, Gay Dance, is not that gay but very well written. Some of the
harmonies and the spacing of the flutes are brilliantly judged. I love
the bright sound. Engaging music and well played. Can you imagine the
beautiful sounds of the piccolo?
Charles Threatte comes from Atlanta. His Pastorale
dates from 1988 and is scored for six flutes and alto flute. It is not
one of those idyllic, uneventful pastorales but one which demands technique
and a high emotional content. The flute is a very sensual human instrument.
It can convey a wide range of emotion and colour and, my goodness, how
well these young players excel themselves!
The brief four movement Sextet of Matt H. Doran follows.
He was born in Kentucky in 1921 and has ten operas, six symphonies and
six concertos to his name as well as 67 pieces involving the flute.
I know his Sonatine for flute and cello. This little Sextet is simple,
direct and effective. It is not ostentatious and this is why it is a
success. It does have a few clichés but it is very pleasing music
and receives a good performance. The balance and sound are exemplary.
After the luscious andante comes an allegro scherzando which says in
99 seconds what some composers take ages to do. Brevity can be very
effective. This is what makes Webern a genius! Another andante follows
but it relies on too much unison work. It is better which the music
diverges. There is a final allegro which isn’t merry!
Two pieces by Raimundo Pineda follow. He hails from
Venezuela and was born in 1967 and is closely linked with this ensemble.
The Latin rhythms will appeal to some but whether it works aesthetically
I doubt. The first piece, Polo Oriental, has little to say and the second
piece, Las Piruetas de Mariana sounds very banal. Oh dear! It simply
does not work. It sounds like a constipated hurdy-gurdy! Dreadful music!
The second disc consists of music by two composers.
Paule Maurice’s Suite for a quartet of flutes is full of colour. But
she is not a composer of the same stature as her husband Pierre Lantier
whose Piano Concerto is a very good piece.
The opening of this quartet is called a preambule.
Indeed. The second is called a divertissement but I did not find
it so. The pavane, fughette, arioso and rondo movements are all anachronistic.
It is ‘living in the past music’ which often betrays a composer's inability
to write original music and music of our time. One movement sounded
like a take off of a popular musical number.
Andrew Downes’ Fantasia for alto, bass and flute choir
is a substantial piece and clearly a labour of love. It is not my favourite
among Andrew’s works but is beautifully played.
It is his Sonata for flute choir Op 58 that completes
this second disc. It is a very fine piece showing influences from Renaissance
music to music of Africa and North America. There are some very telling
moments and both the slow third and fifth movements are truly memorable
as is this performance. The terrific contrasts in this composer's works
sets him apart. This is a very important and unusual work and deserves
attention. It is not merely a curiosity but music that is often very
special indeed. I loved the performance.