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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


20th Century Works for Flute and Orchestra
Ernest BLOCH (1880 – 1959)

Suite Modale (1956)
Frank MARTIN (1890 – 1974)

Ballade (1939)a
Arthur FOOTE (1853 – 1937)

A Night Piece (1918)
Kevin BEAVERS (born 1971)

Nocturne Fantasy (1995)b
John CORIGLIANO (born 1938)

Voyage (1983)
Martin KENNEDY (born 1978)

Souvenir (1995)b
David MORGAN (born 1957)

Romance (2001)
Nicholas UNDERHILL (born 1953)

Nocturne (1995)b
Katherine HOOVER (born 1937)

Nocturne (1977)
Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914 – 1991)

Andantino (1949)
Katherine DeJongh (flute); Anna Sikorzak-Olek (harp)b; Beata Cywínska (piano)a; Polish National Chamber Orchestra of Słupsk Sinfonia Baltica; Bohdan Jramołowicz
Recorded: Słupsk State Theatre, Słupsk, Poland, May 2001

CENTAUR CRC 2585 [73:15]

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One common denominator of this delightful anthology of works for flute and orchestra is the tunefulness and brevity of pieces written by composers of different generations, different countries and different musical horizon, though most of them are American, past and present. Another common denominator is the scoring for string orchestra, sometimes with piano or with harp. However, Frank Martin’s Ballade of 1939 is probably the best-known work here. Though originally written as a test piece for the Geneva Conservatory, it has since been eagerly seized by flautists of all generations. The present version for strings and piano, made by the composer, is by now quite popular. One often forgets that Ernest Ansermet made his own orchestral version which has never really made its mark. I have never heard it but would like to. This is a typical example of Martin’s maturity and totally representative of his mature musical thinking. Tightly argued, often rather austere, it nevertheless abounds in infectious, often jazz-influenced rhythms and is as rewarding to listen to as it must be to play, though the solo part is by no means easy. Bloch’s Suite Modale is a late work composed in 1956 and orchestrated in 1959 a few months before the composer’s death. This beautiful piece is simple, colourful and direct in expression. It sometimes brings Vaughan Williams to mind. One may justly wonder why such delightful music is not heard more often.

Arthur Foote is the Grand Old Man of the American composers featured here. His Night Piece of 1918 is a beautiful Nocturne. Curiously enough, most other American pieces in this collection are Nocturnes, all of them beautifully written, attractive and all well worth hearing.

John Corigliano’s Voyage is in fact an instrumental version of his somewhat earlier a cappella setting of Baudelaire’s L’Invitation au Voyage written in 1971. The instrumental version perfectly matches the poet’s words: There, there is nothing else but grace and measure, richness, quietness and pleasure. Martin Kennedy’s Souvenir is a short tone poem in all but the name whereas David Morgan’s Romance is exactly that. Incidentally, this composer should not be confused with the British-born composer David Morgan born in 1933. Katherine Hoover is a composer as well as a professional flautist (You can hear more of her music on the Parnassus label. Ed.). Her Nocturne of 1977 is apparently an extended reworking of an earlier occasional work. It is most idiomatically written for the instrument, as are all the other pieces.

This very attractive programme ends with the last movement of Panufnik’s Hommage à Chopin composed in 1949 for soprano and piano, and orchestrated for flute and orchestra in 1966.

Katherine DeJongh is a very fine artist, and she plays beautifully and effortlessly throughout, relishing every minute of these lovely pieces. Good orchestral playing and quite decent recorded sound though I find it a bit too close and somewhat unflattering, but never seriously enough to spoil one’s enjoyment.

Hubert Culot



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