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The Flute Collection – Romantic Flute Concertos
Ignaz MOSCHELES (1794-1870)
Concertante in F major for flute, oboe and orchestra [13’34]
With Joris van den Hauwe, Oboe
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
Concertino in D major [9’50]
Jules MOUQUET (1867-1949)
Pan et les oiseaux, Op. 15 [6’53]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Tarantelle, Op. 6 for flute, clarinet and orchestra [6’42]
With Guy Vanderborght (Clarinet)
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) (orchestrated Y. TALMI)
Berceuse, Op. 16
Morceau de concours
Sicilienne, Op. 78
Fantaisie, Op. 79
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) (orchestrated A. HOERÉ)
Pièce en forme de Habanera
Eugène DAMARÉ (1840-1919)
Le merle blanc, Op. 161 for piccolo and orchestra
All pieces for flute and orchestra unless otherwise indicated
Marc Grauwels (Flute and Piccolo)
Orchestra symphonique de la Radio & Télévision Belge/André Vandernoot
Rec. Grand Auditorium de la Radio de Bruxelles in January 1990. DDD
NAXOS 8.555977 [59’15]

Of the six discs that I have received for review recently, half have only very brief or no liner notes at all. At Naxos’s price point this is forgivable, and this release contains the most extensive liner notes of the three. Less forgivable is the mistitling of the CD; there are no romantic flute concertos on this disc. To be fair, there is a Concertante and a Concertino, but the remaining two-thirds of the music are not concertos.

What is this CD then? Marc Grauwels writes the liner notes himself and tells us about the French flute school of composition and performance, and the circumstances that led to the popularity of the flute in France. He attributes this to the nineteenth century French nightlife; ball-room orchestras in small establishments where the flute played an important part and highly skilled flautists employed by the more sophisticated festival, opera, casino and spa orchestras. This led to show-pieces being composed by the likes of Fauré and Saint-Saëns and the other composers represented here.

So perhaps this CD should be titled ‘Popular French Romantic Flute Music’. But then what of the presence of pieces by the Bohemian Moscheles and the Italian Donizetti? While Grauwels himself labels this CD a ‘collection of brilliant French flute music’, he gives no information about the pieces themselves.

The pieces are brilliantly performed; the two ‘foreign’ pieces are delightful, especially the variations that constitute Donizetti’s Concertino. The other highlights are the famous Sicilienne by Faure and the two real show-pieces on the disc, the Saint-Saëns Tarantelle and the concluding march by Damaré.

Grauwels is apparently one of the world’s leading flautists, and this disc shows why. All in all, highly recommended.

Colin ’t Hart


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