This Centaur release
from the flute, violin and viola ensemble
Les Amis Musicales is their first recording
project. The have chosen three scores
that have a special meaning for them.
The title of the release, Beyond
Beethoven ... 20th Century Chamber Music
alludes to Beethoven’s Serenade
for flute, violin and viola in D
major, Op. 25 from 1801, a work which
brought them together as an ensemble.
The Reger Serenade
is a favourite of the American trio
who recognise the beauty of the slow
movement. It has become a touchstone
work for them in performance. The repertoire
for flute, violin and viola is not wide
and this trio welcomed the new works
that Arni Egilsson and Bruce Broughton
wrote for them.
Reger composed the
present Serenade in 1915 Beethoven’s
own trio for the same grouping. Reger
wrote two Serenades both of which
give the lie to the notion that his
music is heavy, over-scored chromatically,
too complex or somehow unpalatable.
These works are delightful from start
to finish. The G major score
is designed in the traditional fast-slow-fast,
three movement structure.
notable single movement score In
the Twilight was commissioned by
Les Amis Musicales. The Icelandic composer
was asked by the violist Janet Lakatos
to ensure that the score was tonal,
colourful and technically demanding
but above all very different from the
Beethoven’s D major Serenade.
Egilsson explains that the silky smoothness
of the alto flute complements the dark
beauty of the viola. The versatility
of the violin inspired the opening of
this accessible work.
of Childhood was composed by Bruce
Broughton, the seven times Emmy Award-winning
TV and film composer. American-born
Broughton is an experienced chamber
music composer. His score is an approachable
and is divided into three movements.
Broughton explains that the title refers
to the impact that our earliest experiences
have on shaping the rest of our lives.
The opening movement
is entitled Improvisation. The
central movement is a set of Variations
in four short sections. The work closes
with a movement called Ouspenskian
Recurrence, named after the Russian
author, mathematician and mystic, Peter
Les Amis Musicales
demonstrate glove-tight ensemble from
ghostly flitting scherzo-like movements
to desolate slow sections. Their intensity
is impressive as is their rhythmic ferocity.
An impressive performance all round
from an ensemble worth looking out for.
The overly technical
booklet notes are laid out in rather
confusing manner. All the information
is there apart from composition dates
for the Egilsson and Broughton pieces.
The sound quality is perfectly acceptable
and well balanced.
An interesting release
from those wanting accessible music
away from the mainstream.