Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


 
REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


French Flute Chamber Music
Marcel TOURNIER (1879-1951)
Suite, Op.34 (c.1930) [13:46]
Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958)
Suite en rocaille, Op.84 (1937) [13:41]
Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937)
Variations libres et finale, Op.51 (1933) [10:52]
Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997)
Quintette (1932) [9:16]
Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937)
Sérénade, Op.30 (1925) [15:53]
Mirage Quintet (Robert Aitken (flute); Erica Goodman (harp); Jacques Israelivitch (violin); Teng Li (viola); Winona Zelenka (cello))
rec. October 2007, St.Anne's Church, Toronto, Canada
NAXOS 8.570444 [63:53]

Experience Classicsonline

The man who first combined gin and tonic was either smart or lucky. The man who first blended a flute and a harp was a genius. Their voices combine like perfumes in the air. Add the three string instruments to the cocktail - and you get a wondrous ensemble, very economical in means, yet powerful in expression. It also furnishes a richer palette of sonorities than the good old string or piano quartet. The three strings cover the plane of pitches and provide counterpoint; the flute adds a third dimension to the timbre; the harp brings the magic.

And what is it so inherently French in this flute-harp marriage? Did this association start with Mozart's colorful concerto, written in Paris or during some Afternoon of a Fawn? I can't say, but this combination seems to be owned by the French. Clarity, wit, elegance: all properties associated with the French music of the XIX and early XX century and all naturally spoken in the flute-harp language.

It is very good that you are reading this now because maybe I have a chance to make a point and convince you what a wonderful disc this is. Will you believe me if I say that I absolutely love every minute of it? That it's definitely one of the best discs I have heard in the last year, maybe even the best. One can't guess it from the name: the album's dry title could come from a scientific magazine. But under this modest lid there are treasures.

If I had to describe it in just one word, the word would be charm. That applies equally to the compositions and to the performances. Yes, the five pieces by the five composers have much in common. They inhabit similar universes and styles though the Roussel stands apart. They share a lot: aesthetics, vigor, sensuality, variability, sparkle. It is bad to share all this? They all have this distinctive French flavor. The Quartets of Debussy and Ravel were without doubt a major influence, as must have been Ravel's Introduction and Allegro for harp, flute, clarinet and string quartet. Maybe it would be wiser for the listener to pause between the works, digesting them one by one, refreshing the receptors. If you are holding a smile for too long it may become unnatural.

Marcel Tournier's Suite is inventive and sensual. Languid melodies fill the air, with soft evening sun, seagull cries, and sudden gusts of wind. It is a very atmospheric piece, instantly likable. Every turn presents to us a new tonal tint. From such a master of harp as Tournier was, one could expect putting more accent on the harp - but no, it is all fair, with true chamber interplay. Schmitt's Suite en rocaille is a modern rococo piece, elegant and playful. The fabric is denser, harmonies are more advanced, and some melodies are just irresistible. He had a melodic gift for sure. Pierné's Variations libres et finale are more conservative and introspective. The masterfully crafted variations flow without breaks. It is like following the course of a forest stream, watching the changes of glittering patterns on the water.

Jean Françaix was only 20 when he wrote his delightful Quintette. Under ten minutes, it is concentrated happiness. You'll want to join the cheeky dance of the Scherzo, and the Rondo is a whirlwind. Last comes the Sérénade by Albert Roussel, the most modern-sounding piece on the disc. Now we are in the 20th century for certain! The music is neo-classical, quirky, and harmonically adventurous, without the suavity of the preceding works. The middle movement has otherworldly calmness, while the framing movements sparkle with insistent rhythms.

The recording is demonstration-class, ideally capturing both the flute's highest leaps and the harp's resonating echoes. Liner-notes by Renée Silberman, in English and French, succeed in providing concentrated information in limited space. The Naxos price is unbeatable. But above all, what makes this disc so special, is the playing, the blending, the balance, the surprises, the turns and twists, the flow, the airiness, the soft bliss granted by the Mirage Quintet. Probably an ad hoc group, this happened to be one of those chamber ensembles that add up to much more than the sum of its parts, although each and every one is obviously a solid virtuoso. I take all my hats off!

Oleg Ledeniov
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.