The Naxos-Gaubert edition
has now reached Volume 3 and whatever else may be said
about the quality and level of inspiration of the compositions,
executant standards are certainly well maintained (see reviews
of Volume 1 - CMT & RH -
and Volume 2 - GPJ).
This is a difficult disc to assess because at its heart lies
sequence of transcriptions – heard here in their first ever
recording – the nourishment of which will depend entirely
on one’s largesse toward flute and piano editions of Boccherini’s
Minuet, Gluck’s Orfeo (Minuet and Dance inevitably), some
Lully and the like. These Baroque and Classical transcriptions
were written for publication by Leduc – Gaubert eventually
contributed thirty – and whatever opportunities they may
have given the amateur flautist then (publication was in
1927) they now seem, once again perhaps invariably, more
than somewhat faded in charm.
Elsewhere we find the elite
flautist-composer showing distinct Debussyan longings. Soir
sur la plaine, the first of Deux esquisses is
undated but doffs its impressionist cap to the Faune; the
second, an Orientale, makes somewhat insipid moves
towards the evocative East. The Nocturne et allegro scherzando is
one of those familiarly bipartite conservatoire test pieces – a
slow introduction testing legato and colour followed by an
allegro of sharp corners and some difficulty. His Sicilienne owes
a debt to Fauré but the 1905 Romance, whilst lyrically
attractive, is overstretched.
The impressionist reappears
strongly in the 1908 Romance but there’s something
altogether stronger and more personal in the Fantaisie which
sports a fine cadenza and a slightly backward looking late
nineteenth century Test Piece ethos. Finally there’s an affectionate Lullaby to
provide easeful leave taking.
Quite a deal of this is
editorial bread and butter work – the Transcriptions amount
to a good half an hour’s worth – but there’s enough stylistic
density to keep routine at bay. But it’s mainly for flautists,
completists and Gaubertists, or combinations thereof.