This disc contains a flute recital programme. Beginning with
Bach’s E major Sonata, the disc takes us through repertoire
by Saint-Saens, Poulenc, Borne and Prokofiev. It is the debut
recording from the duo of Odinn Baldvinsson and Patricia Romero,
which was formed in 2007.
The Bach feels slightly hurried, even in the expressive slow
movement, and I would have liked a greater sense of phrasing
and expression. Baldvinsson is a competent player with good intonation
and finger control, but this interpretation lacks the subtleties
of inflection that can be found in this music. The dynamic range
also holds little variety, with repeats all played at identical
volumes and with the same solid sound.
by Saint-Saens is played with a warm and even
sound and once again is technically well under control, but I
craved more of a sense of fantasy in the cadenza passages. Poulenc’s Sonata
slightly better at the opening, but the relentless rigidity of
both the tone and vibrato get in the way of the expression. In
this repertoire, some gentle, unindulgent rubato can add some
magic. Having said that, the first movement was played with impressive
technical agility and an enjoyable strength of tone at the places
where it was called for. The second movement has some beautifully
lyrical melodic lines, and I would have enjoyed more sense of
direction in the phrases. Changes in the speed of vibrato would
also have been welcomed, and the piano part seemed almost plodding
at times. A few cracks emerged in the technique in the more challenging
final movement, and I felt some fire and drama would have brought
the movement to life more.
Francois Borne’s Carmen Fantasie
is an entertaining
work which takes its thematic material from Bizet’s opera.
Demanding both musically and technically, this work requires
the performers to exude panache and virtuosity. Here, Baldvinsson’s
all-pervasive vibrato in the low register melodies became irritating,
and the piece also suffered technically in some of the faster
passages. The famous Habanera
is surprisingly legato with
a distinctly melancholy feel, and the ensuing variations are
too slow and laboured to be able to sparkle.
The disc ends with Prokofiev’s Sonata
, often cited
as a one of the favourites of early twentieth century flute repertoire.
The first movement is possibly one of the more successful interpretations
of the disc, with the strength of tone suiting the style of the
music well. The second movement has a tendency to hurry and to
lose clarity. The final two movements are reasonably successful
in their interpretations, and come across confidently, although
greater variety would again have been welcomed.
Baldvinsson is clearly a competent flute player with good technical
control of his instrument and the ability to play with a rich
sound. The technical elements of a good player are there, but
I would have liked a much greater range of expression in order
to make the music emotionally moving. Romero is a reliable duo
partner, who plays accurately and with rhythmic precision.
This is an enjoyable recital programme of standard works, but
all of these pieces have been recorded numerous times before
by superior performers, whose interpretations I prefer.