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|Flute Music by Performing
Artists of the 20th Century
Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941)
Romance (1905) [7:56]
Sonate pour Flûte et Piano (1917)
Sonata Op. 23 (1988)
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Petit Berger [2:25]
Walter GIESEKING (1895-1956)
Ary Van LEEUWEN (1875-1953) Polka Charactéristique
Op. 3 for piccolo and piano [5:17]
(flute); Marianne Boer (piano)
rec. September 2006, Hardstudios, Switzerland. DDD
QUANTUM QM7044 [62:34]
theme of this disc is flute works by composers who were also
performers on various instruments. Of these, only two were
flute players (Gaubert and Ary Van Leeuwen); the other three
were (or are, in Liebermann’s case) pianists.
had not previously heard of these performers, but was instantly
absorbed by the richness of Maurice Heugen’s flute tone.
Marianne Boer performs as a true duo partner, with sensitivity
when required and the ability to play in a soloistic way
disc commences with two works by Gaubert, one of the fathers
of the celebrated French flute school. The simple Romance is
played here with lissom empathy and beautiful phrasing. The
piano matches the warmth of the flute and it is immediately
clear that this is a highly polished duo. The performance
of the Sonata is equally enticing. The undulating movement
in the piano part maintains the momentum and flow, and there
is a real sense of partnership between the players. The slow
movement has a feeling of tranquillity and calm, while the
final movement is singing, passionate and exciting.
opening of Liebermann’s Flute Sonata is slow and haunting,
with interesting twists of harmony. The extreme tempo makes
phrasing difficult, and Heugen does a reasonably good job
here. The dramatic central section has power and energy,
before the piano takes over with a delicately played melody
line, which reminds me in many ways of music to accompany
a slightly disturbing dream-sequence where all is not what
it seems. This could quite easily have been written to accompany
a film; there is a frisson of danger and an unnerving sense
of underlying turbulence, with all credit to these excellent
performers who give a fantastic sense of drama and tension
in this hypnotic rendition. The final movement is fast and
furious, and full of fireworks. The demanding technical writing
is well handled by both players, who maintained good rhythmic
control and a driving momentum throughout the movement.
simplicity of Debussy’s Le Petit Berger comes as a
wonderful contrast, and shows another dimension to these
performers. Their performance is unindulgent and beautifully
shaped, with a wonderful sense of peace.
Gieseking’s Sonata is full of the richness of sound
we have now become accustomed to from these performers. It
is surprising that this work isn’t played more often; although
it is beginning to become more known amongst flute players
it is still often neglected. The opening movement is tinged
with sadness, and the lyrical flute line takes on the majority
of the melodic lines. The piano adds lush chromatic harmony,
played here with a gently executed and well-considered rubato.
The second movement is a lilting dance, full of character
and poise. The triumphant final movement is joyful and romantic
in its essence, and brings the work to a luminous close.
disc ends with Ary Van Leeuwen’s Polka Charactéristique for
piccolo and piano. A short and sparkling work, this is salon
music with the prerequisite virtuosity from both performers.
The piano playing is, once again, excellent, but I was not
quite as convinced by Heugen’s piccolo tone. The technical
demands are met with apparent ease, however, and the performance
summary, this is an admirable disc featuring a satisfying
variety of works. The performers are consistently excellent
and their passion for the music they play communicates well.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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