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The Romantic Flute
Charles–Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Suite, Op. 34 [15:30]; Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895) Suite, Op. 116 [9:47]; Carl REINECKE (1824-1910) Sonata Undine, Op. 167 [17:38]; César FRANCK (1822-1890) Sonata in A major [25:00]; Camille SAINT-SÄENS (1835-1921) Romance, Op. 37 [5:22]
Jeffrey Khaner (flute); Hugh Sung (piano)
rec. May 2006, Curtis Hall, Philadelphia, PA, USA. DDD
AVIE AV2131 [73:48]

Experience Classicsonline

This is a well-programmed disc of Romantic flute repertoire, and comprises mainstream repertoire works by Widor, Godard, Reinecke, Franck and Saint-Säens.
Widor’s four movement suite was composed for Paul Taffanel and premiered in a concert promoted by the Chamber Music Society for Wind Instruments. Khaner plays with a sense of rounded style, careful phrasing and flowing lines, and his rich tone is unforced and expressive. The fast-moving semiquavers in the flute part are particularly impressive, for their evenness of tone and technique.
Khaner takes the Allegretto movement of Godard’s Suite a little faster than some other players, but the effect is sparkling and light. The Idyll is not allowed to wallow and flows gently with a good sense of balance between spacious phrases and forward momentum. The final waltz is well-paced and played with a refreshing attention to detail.
Reinecke’s Undine sonata is a challenging work which requires a strong sense of duo between players. Khaner and Sung do an excellent job here, with a good sense of balance and ebb and flow between parts. Undine was a water nymph, and the sound of the water can be clearly detected in the first movement of the Sonata. The sparkling Intermezzo features staccato semiquavers which are played here with precision and clarity of articulation. The Andante tranquillo is played with a warm sound and tender phrasing, while the tempestuous finale builds tension and momentum with good dramatic effect.
There is a long tradition of making arrangements of violin sonatas for the flute, and Franck’s A major Sonata is one such example. There are many different arrangements of this work, and the one heard here is Khaner’s own. This is a 25 minute work in four movements, which, like the Reinecke, has a prominent part for the piano, creating a true duo rather than solo instrument with accompaniment. Khaner and Sung create a range of moods and atmospheres well, with turbulent sections of building tension contrasting with more gentle moments of calm. Khaner is a master of tone colours, creating variety in his sound and convincingly enhancing the direction of the lines.
The disc ends with Saint-Säens’ Romance, a short work in the style of a Song Without Words, performed here with a wonderful sense of unforced intimacy, with Khaner’s flute line played with a mellow tone over a shimmering piano accompaniment.
Throughout the disc, Khaner and Sung demonstrate their world-class mastery of their instruments. Their performances are musically engaging and technically commanding, with impressive attention to detail and a strong sense of duo between the players.

Carla Rees


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