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Crystal Records

Take Wing
Daniel DORFF (b.1956)
Sonatine de Giverny *
Allen KRANTZ (b.1951)
Song of Spring with little Variations and Fantasies (2002)+
Willard S. ELLIOT (1926-2000)
Fantasy (1952)*
David LOEB (b.1939)
Preludes for solo piccolo Vol.4 (2000)
Michael DAUGHERTY (b.1954)
The High and the Mighty (2000)*
Vincent PERSICHETTI (1915-1987)
Parable for Solo Piccolo Op.125
Stephen MAGER (b.1956)
The Saltarello (The Falcon) – from Illuminations (2002)#
Howard J BUSS (b.1951)
Night Flight*^
Lois Bliss Herbine (piccolo) with
Charles Abramovic (piano) *
Allison Herz (clarinet)^
Sophie Bruno (harp)#
Allen Krantz (guitar)+
Recorded at Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, 2000-2002


Another leading wind soloist takes flight - or in Crystal’s rubric takes wing – in a recital of contemporary American music. Lois Bliss Herbine is flautist with Orchestra 2000 and is clearly a committed exponent of such music, having commissioned and performed it with a number of ensembles and in a wide variety of media. She’s joined by some able colleagues in a programme that is entertaining and wide ranging.

Dorff’s Sonatine was inspired by a visit to Monet’s garden at Giverny and was written in 2000. It glints, glances and summons up Debussyan chords in its opening (Les fleurs ravisantes – properly conveyed) though the heat haze stasis of the high piccolo line in the second movement is even more arresting, as is the loquacious promenade of the last of the three movements, En ville, in which there’s a requisite bustle of talk and motion. Krantz’s little Song of Spring in which he plays the guitar is only two years old at the time of writing and has real lyric curve. Elliot’s Fantasy is similarly brief at six minutes or so and is an ebullient tongue twister, which stretches the player’s lungs and demands fast and precise articulation. Loeb’s Preludes are for solo piccolo and are the fourth such volume of solos he has written. Brief and adroit one or two summon up the Eastern influences that Loeb has acknowledged before.

Daugherty is seldom out of the musical news these days, for one reason or another. His old school lyricism comes with flutter tonguing and “falling away” aircraft sonorities – appropriately since his two-movement work is inspired by the post-WWII interest in air travel. As if to reinforce the allure of foreign travel we have a hint of the bossa nova and some overblowing as well. The senior composer is Persichetti, who died in 1987. I like the advice he gave to Herbine not to make more of it than it is – just a little Christmas Hymn tune. Mager’s Salterello is attractive and the concluding Buss is the only time we get to hear a trio – though elsewhere there are duos of various kinds. This ends the disc well – dance rhythms, Romantic tunes and a jazzy close.

Performances are fluent and attractive and the recorded sound is good, curbing any tendency toward shrillness at the top of the piccolo’s range. As ever Crystal’s notes are a fold out nightmare – come on you chaps in Camas, WA, let’s have a booklet.

Jonathan Woolf

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