quartet of diverse and original twentieth-century flute concertos
is presented here. They provide engrossing listening for
anyone wanting lesser known territory for the instrument.
Most readers might have heard of Ibert and Jolivet, but Vieru
and Matej may well be all but unknown outside select circles.
That is a shame, for their music - and particularly that
of Vieru - deserves to be much more widely known and appreciated.
information accompanying the copy of the CD-R I was sent
is sketchy – the reverse side of the cover lists the tracks
and accompanying artists and the back of the CD case itself
gives but the briefest background about the performances.
There is next to nothing about the soloist and the works
themselves. What is forthcoming however is that these recordings
are all taken from off-air radio recordings captured on reel-to-reel
tape and LPs that capture Bruderhans’ live performances at
a variety of stages in his career. The recorded sound is
not ideally clear and free from ‘flutter’ interference,
a common occurrence when recordings are made from LP playbacks,
such as happened here. Ibert, Vieru and Matej all suffer
less than Jolivet in this respect.
Ibert shows an impressive standard of solo playing from
the start in a sprightly Allegro. The line is nicely graded
coloured, mixing shade with ease amongst the bright effervescent
passages that Ibert scores with such apparent ease. The
Andante middle movement is lyrical and finely spun by Bruderhans
against an atmospheric orchestral accompaniment. The closing
Allegro Scherzando is an altogether punchier affair that
possesses much in the way of rhythmic interplay between
and orchestra, with a melancholy middle section to the
movement varying both the material and moods it contains.
takes it all in his stride, which is all the more impressive
when you register that this was the performance that won
him first prize in the 1959 Prague Spring Festival Competition – securing
maximum marks from Jean Pierre Rampal, no less.
own interest in this CD stems from the inclusion of the
concerto by Anatol Vieru, one of Romania’s most original composers
of the recent past. Stemming from Vieru’s period of study
under Aram Khachaturian in Moscow,
the concerto was written for the Russian flautist Alexander
Kornejev. The material is based on the tonal sequence C-B-C#-Bb-D-A-Eb-Ab-E-G-F#-F.
The opening movement, marked Ricercare-Toccata, holds the
orchestral strings and percussion on a tight rein as the
solo line is woven at a steady tempo, at least in the beginning.
The movement’s later section picks up both the tempo and
use of percussion. The solo line becomes increasingly agitated
and verges on the declamatory at times. The middle movement – Aria – is
altogether different, opening with a sparsely scored string
line to accompany the flute. Indeed, the flute here possesses
a singing quality that makes the title marking seem appropriate,
even though Vieru gradually tightens the grip his orchestral
forces exert on the movement before allowing it to die away.
The final movement has percussive elements well to the fore,
with the solo part showing as much interest in rhythm as
sustaining a lyrical line. It’s a work and performance
that is well worth hearing - having the composer as its
adds to the documentary value.
Matej concerto was written for Zdenek Bruderhans and makes
fewer demands on him as soloist than the preceding Vieru.
All three movements hold flowing lyricism at their core,
although in an unusual twist for the concerto form the slow
adagio comes first, flowed by two faster allegros that are
themselves differentiated in no small measure. The recording
suffers from a fair amount of flutter and congestion, which
results in the harpsichord being all but inaudible. Those
that might expect this to be a neo-baroque work with continuo
style contributions from the keyboard will be disappointed.
one is listening to this disc straight through by the time
the Jolivet concerto starts the mild irritation one had
at the start with intermittent recording interference turns
to something a bit stronger, as it becomes more pronounced
and consistently present. A shame really as both the work
and performance seem imaginative – particularly the second
movement that places the ppp solo part against a
bare percussion accompaniment – but this is soon interrupted by
the uproarious third movement. The final movement – Calme – brings
the work and the disc to a contemplative, wistful close.
release for flautists, flute aficionados or those interested
in the featured composers. Even though it’s let down by
the supporting notes and sound quality in the long run
still an interesting disc that I will occasionally revisit.