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Dedicated to Barrère
André CAPLET (1878-1925)

Feuillets d’album

Rêverie (1897) [4:36]
Invocation (c.1901) [3:01]
Petite Valse (1897) [2:28]
Henry WOOLETT (1864-1936)

Sonata in B flat minor (1903) [24:58]
Albert SEITZ (1872-1937)

Chant dans la nuit (1901) [5:51]
Eugène LACROIX (1858-1950)

Quatre Pièces (1901) [14:24]
Augustin LEFORT (1852-1925)

Bourrée [2:15]
Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941)

Romance (1905) [8:10]
Eugène DAMARÉ (1840-1919)

Les Marionettes (1900) [3:21]
Leone Buyse (flute)
Martin Amlin (piano)
rec. Boston University Concert Hall, May 2004
CRYSTAL RECORDS CD715 [70:04]



 

That great artist Georges Barrère (1876-1944) was hugely influential on both sides of the Atlantic. He was an august member of the Parisian school and then a powerful presence in America after his emigration there in 1905. This Crystal programme therefore pays handsome tribute in French works, all of which were dedicated to him.

Caplet was only nineteen when he wrote the Feuillets d’album. Three pieces are presented here, numbers two, four and five. The second is charmingly lyric and unpretentious whilst the fourth, an Invocation, has a certain tristesse embedded in the heart of its happiness. The Petite valse has plenty of requisite joie de vivre.

Henry Woollett is a minor composer, French and of English ancestry. He studied with Pugno (piano) and Massenet (composition) and in turn taught Caplet and Honegger. His sonata dates from 1903 and has something of the ease of Fauré’s First Violin Sonata. It’s certainly no shrinking violet of a flute sonata – it’s a good twenty-five minutes long – and allows some powerful, almost Brahmsian moments for the pianist; naturally enough the composer was a fine exponent himself. There’s a first movement fugal passage and a languid Andante. The finale is rather long winded but once again shows its dual compositional allegiances.

To bathe the middle of the programme in sympathetic warmth we have Albert Seitz’s melodic charm in his 1901 Chant dans la nuit. Eugène Lacroix used to be played quite a bit by salon bands. His Quatre Pièces date from the same year as the Seitz and mine variously antique airs, tricksy scalar writing for the flute, and opportunities for floated tone. Lefort’s solitary contribution is the kind of Bourrée that violinists of the time were churning out by the dozen. Gaubert, a rival of Barrère, spins a delicious Romance generously dedicated to the older man. Finally there is Demare’s Les Marionettes. It was originally written for piccolo and orchestra but is heard in a piccolo and piano reduction made by the pianist on this disc, Martin Amlin. There is no evidence apparently that the flautist ever played it though it was certainly dedicated to him. It’s full of lighthearted frivolity.

So the recital ends on an airy high. The performances of the Buyse-Amlin duo are highly purposeful and poetic and strongly evocative of the Parisian milieu in which these kinds of works flourished. They’ve been very sympathetically recorded as well.

Jonathan Woolf

 


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