Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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From A to Z, Vol. 2 C-B
Fulvio CALDINI (b.1959)

Thelema’s Hot Machine, Op. 33 (1986){4.19]
Sven-Erik BÄCK (1919-1994)

Sonata for Flute solo (1949) [13.37]
Elliott CARTER (b.1908)
Scrivo in vento [6.03]
Joseph Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1689-1755)

Première Suite in E minor, Op. 35 (1731) [10.36]
Yehezkel BRAUN (b.1922)
Sonata for Flute (1955/87) [11.26]
Gloria COATES (b.1938)
Reaching for the Moon for flute solo (1987/88) [3.11]
Leonhard von CALL (1767-1815)
Fantasia I, Op. 6 No. 1 [7.32]
Daniel BÖRTZ (b.1943)
Tinted Drawings for flute solo (2001) [8.23]
Sharon Bezaly (flute)
Recorded November 2001 at Furuby Church, Växjö, Sweden
BIS-CD 1259
[68.20]


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In the second volume of Bezaly’s safari through the musical alphabet, all the pieces call for a sympathetic and accomplished player, and she amply fulfils both requirements. The flute has not retained the high status it enjoyed as a solo instrument in the 18th and 19th centuries and, though it has inherited a rich repertoire, few modern composers seem to have shown much interest in writing for it. This recital is a courageous attempt to explore what she calls ‘uncharted territories’, namely five items are by relatively unknown 20th century composers, and two that follow comparatively well trodden pathswell, only one really since von Call could hardly be considered a memorable exponent of the instrument’s versatility and charm.

Caldini, the youngest composer to join in this adventure, sets the pace with a minimalist frolic, but after the Debussyesque sonata for solo flute by Bäck. I was beginning to wonder whether, though each item has its own interest, this hardly constitutes a well-balanced programme. Chromaticism reigns, and several of these ‘new’ pieces sound decidedly derivative. There are, of course, exceptions. Carter’s arresting essay Scriva in vento (written in the wind) shows that, in competent hands, the gentle flute can turn decidedly shrewish.

The Boismortier suite is a curious choice as sole representative of the baroque period, particularly when played sans continuo on a gold Muramatsu flute as it is here, and in a decidedly improvisando style. Maybe it’s a subtle ploy to persuade us that he can be made to sound as ‘modern’ as anyone else! (If a baroque composition is needed what could be better than C.P.E. Bach’s beautiful A minor sonata for solo flute?)

Firmly rooted in the French style, Braun’s sonata falls easily on the ear, and reminds me of the ‘test pieces’ composed every year for flute students at the Paris Conservatoire pleasant, difficult to play but easily forgotten. Daniel Börtz’s Tinted drawings (they must surely depict birds) makes an excellent sign-off.

The solo flute is not everybody’s cup of tea, but this disc makes a good case for reminding listeners and flautists, as well as composers, not to ignore it. When Sharon Bezaly comes out of the outback I look forward to hearing her play some of the more familiar solo repertoire, such as Debussy’s Syrinx and Hindemith’s Eight Pieces.


Roy Brewer

Volume 1

 



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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Nimbus
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Sheva
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