Griffes’ The White Peacock started its
life as one of the Roman Sketches Op.7 for piano and was
orchestrated later by the composer. The present arrangement for flute,
guitar and bassoon is by Mike Coates and works remarkably well. It perfectly
conveys the work’s subtle Impressionism.
Andrea Stern’s Mosaic, originally written
for flute and harp, has also been arranged by Mike Coates. It is one
of the many rarities in this release each of which could easily become
popular. The music, as that of most other pieces here, is straightforward,
impressionistic and overtly tuneful. Daniel Dorff’s Serenade to
Eve, After Rodin has its origin in an improvisational performance
in Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum in which the composer took part as a
clarinetist. Rodin’s sculptures of Adam and Eve banished from Paradise
display "grief, terror and shame". Dorff’s short piece was
thus written, as it were, to cheer Eve up. It is a really charming miniature,
as is the lovely diptych by Rodrigo composed in 1982 for violin or flute
and guitar. Spain is also represented by Salvador Brotons and his delightful
and superbly crafted Tre Divertimenti Op.68 are unpretentious
miniatures; another welcome addition to this particular repertoire.
We are not told who arranged Debussy’s Le Petit
Berger from the popular Children’s Corner, but
it works well as does Coates’ transcription of Debussy’s jazzy little
piano piece Le Petit Nègre which might have been
another movement of Children’s Corner.
This attractive collection ends with yet another welcome
rarity Quatre Facettes by Jean-Michel Damase whose superbly
crafted, tuneful music is always a joy to hear. Sadly enough, it is
still too rarely heard.
All in all, a splendid and enjoyable collection of
miniatures (no great masterpieces here) that are all well worth hearing,
especially in such immaculate performances. Excellent recording in natural
acoustics remarkably free from the many extraneous noises (breathing,
clicks, etc.) that often mar similar recitals. Recommended for pleasure’s
sake, but a bit short in terms of playing time.