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Sigfrid KARG-ELERT (1877-1933)
Sonata in B flat for flute and piano Op.121 (1915-18) [15:26]
Studies for flute Op.107 (1915-18) [17:10]
Sonata in F sharp Op.140 (1915-18) [4:35]
Alun HODDINOTT (1929-2008)
Nocturnes and Cadenzas for flute Op.101b (1980) [8:58]
Sonata for flute and piano [18:28]
Julian Cawdrey (flute)
Martin Jones (piano)
rec. Prince Michael Hall, Dean Close School, Cheltenham, January 2006†
QUANTUM QM7042 [64:48]


Experience Classicsonline

Iíve just emerged from a marathon session devoted to the protean Karg-Elertís work for saxophone, his Twenty-Five Caprices for saxophone solo and Sonata (atonal) for alto saxophone solo Op.153 (1929) Ė a saxophonic mouthful if ever there was one.

Just over a decade earlier however he had immersed himself in works for the flute Ė all such works were compressed into a four-year period that coincided with the First World War. The Op.121 Sonata lasts a quarter of an hour. Itís fluent, fluid and cast in one movement reflective of a number of different influences. Itís often rather crude to do what Leonard Bernstein was habitually given to doing when reading through a friendís score and shouting out the alleged influences Ė but letís try it anyway; Straussís Violin Sonata, Reger, French impressionism. Itís in the slower central panel that Karg-Elert shifts his centre of geographical axis to Paris; the outer sections are full of acrobatic verve and flecked with caprice. Itís a vital, engaging work and fully reflective of its big, hard working composer.

There are thirty of the Op.107 solo Studies - of which Julian Cawdrey gives us twelve. They vary in impetus from Bachian to Paganini-motored. There are some tough demands throughout. Keeping the melody line intact at speed throughout No.17 sounds especially difficult for example, though itís a measure of Cawdrayís success that he proves equal to al challenges. His articulation in No.18 and impeccable intonation are two building blocks of his musicianship, the leaps here surmounted with athleticism. In No.30 his tone remains pure even under strong technical pressure.

It may seem bizarre to couple Karg-Elert with Hoddinott but itís not as odd all that. Nocturnes and Cadenzas for flute Op.101b was written in 1980. Itís free-flowing, lyrical, quizzical and ends in stillness Ė not Stygian but with a sense of accomplishment, of things achieved. The Flute sonata was written for Cawdrey. This has some splendid things. The Scherzo is imbued with brilliant trills and a dose of avian fervour with the piano scurrying to keep up. The slow movement by contrast is languid, folkloric even. The finale is a kind of railway boogie Ė infectious in its motoric way.

The performances are first class, the recordings equally so. The coupling is certainly not obvious but note that the Hoddinott pieces are heard in their first ever recordings.

Jonathan Woolf


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