Dutton, the independent
Watford-based label has released a recording of British Music
for flute, oboe and piano from a diverse mix of composers. Here
American flautist Nancy Ruffer joins British players, John Anderson
and Helen Crayford to form an impressive ensemble who just delight
in this appealing programme of twentieth-century trios and duos.
first and oldest work on this release is London-born Sir Eugène
Goossens’ attractive Pastorale et Arlequinade for flute,
oboe and piano. It is a two movement score that he wrote
in 1924 for his brother Léon, an oboist with the Philharmonic
Trio. As the title implies the opening movement evokes a gentle
and sunny rustic setting, complete with occasional birdsong effects.
The Arlequinade is fresh and vivacious with an engaging
degree of drama.
English composer Madeline Dring married oboist Roger Lord and
the three movement Trio for flute, oboe and piano from 1968 was
one of the scores she wrote with him in mind. It opens with a
melodic, rhythmic and restless Allegro con brio followed
by a relaxing central Andante semplice with a recurring
principal theme. The closing movement, a stylish Allegro giocoso
designed in a neo-Classical vein, is reminiscent of Poulenc.
most recent work on this release is from the English composer
Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.. Now an American resident, Bennett
wrote Sounds and Sweet Aires for flute, oboe and piano
in 1985 as a commission from WUNC Radio at the University of North
Carolina. Designed in a three movement scheme I found the opening
Allegretto Lyrico rather dense, slightly unsettling and
tinged with an ominous atmosphere. The central Capriccioso
is dark and turbulent at times and I enjoyed the hectic and
jerky closing movement marked Lento - con brio.
Three Dialogues were written in 1966 by Scottish composer
Edward McGuire whilst a student at the Royal Academy of Music
in London. The score opens with a pithy and rather nondescript
dialogue. Tension builds in the central slow movement and the
work ends with a brief movement of a bumpy and weaving character.
Rhian Samuel composed her original version of Shadow Dance
in 1984, intended for students at King’s College, London.
The single movement work for flute, oboe and piano was revised
in 1985. Samuel’s score is sinister and darkly-hued nature music
containing a sense of unpleasant bickering.
single movement work, the Impromptu for flute and oboe
was written by Scottish-American composer Thea Musgrave in 1967.
Intended for the flautist Douglas Whittaker and oboist Janet Craxton
the première took place at London’s Wigmore Hall. Musgrave has
written a note about the score, “As the title implies
it is a short light-hearted work. It is based on a short distinctive
phrase heard at the outset. This returns many times at different
pitches and always with a different continuation.” An unusual,
although accessible work, designed in a single scurrying movement
the players at times follow each other by use of cues rather than
using notation by bar lines.
Sir Malcolm Arnold wrote his Suite Bourgeoise for flute,
oboe and piano in the early war years, around 1939/40. It is a
masterwork of the genre now forming an important part of his wonderful
musical legacy. Evidently the score was lost for fifty or so years
and only surfaced in 1996. Cast in five movements the it commences
with a hot and sultry Prelude with a sunny Mediterranean
feel, followed by the warm and lyrical Tango subtitled
‘Elaine’ and concluding in a pastoral vein. I found the central
movement titled Dance (censored), originally called
Whorehouse, evocative of the bright lights of a bustling
evening city scene and the passionate Ballad has a cocktail
bar feel to the piano writing. The Suite Bourgeoise concludes
with an attractive movement titled Valse (Ugo) infused
with swirling, good humour.
wish to draw attention to an outstanding new release of Malcolm
Arnold Wind Chamber Music that includes the Suite Bourgeoise
in a version for flute, clarinet and piano. Recorded in 2006 at
Potton Hall, Suffolk by members of East Winds: flautist Judith
Treggor; clarinettist Victoria Soames Samek and pianist Paul Chilvers.
This superbly performed and recorded release is available on Naxos
(c/w Wind Quintet, Op.2; Duo for 2 clarinets, Op. 135; Dream
City (arr. Paul Harris for wind quintet); Hobson's Choice:
Overture (1953) (arr. Uwe Radok for wind octet); Grand Fantasia
for flute, clarinet and piano; Overture (1940) (arr. Uwe Radok
for wind octet); Scherzetto (arr. for clarinet and piano
from film score You Know What Sailors Are); Fantasy for
solo clarinet, Op. 87; Fantasy for flute and clarinet; Divertimento
for flute, oboe and clarinet, Op. 37 and Three Shanties for
wind quintet, Op. 4).
this Dutton release it is difficult not to be impressed with
the playing. These musicians display a special affinity for
this repertoire and especially evident is their freshness, sensitivity
and lightness of touch. Their ensemble is so secure it is no
surprise that they chose to navigate a safe mid-course. At times
one wonders what results might have been achieved if the trio
had accentuated the dynamics further. The Dutton engineers have
provided a most satisfactory sound quality and the decently
written booklet notes provide all the basic information.
2006 I heard the Goossens Pastorale et Arlequinade; the
Dring Trio and the Arnold Suite Bourgeoise splendidly
performed in recital at my local music society.. The performers
were Intriplicate, a young Manchester based trio formed in 2001
with flautist Claire Fillhart; oboist Sally Richardson and pianist
Claire Dunham. Intriplicate are an ensemble I would certainly
travel some distance to hear perform.
Dutton have released a well performed and recorded disc
of delightful British Music
for flute, oboe and piano. This attractive disc is self recommending.