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Images and Impressions: Music for flute and harp
William ALWYN (1905-1985) Naiades [12:57]; Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Le Petit Berger [2:23]; Premiere Arabesque [4:26]; Vincent PERSICHETTI (1915-1987) Serenade No. 10 [11:16]; Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) The fog is lifting [1:55]; Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Syrinx [2:38]; Anthony PAYNE (b.1936) A 1940s Childhood [13:55]; Marcel TOURNIER (1879-1951) Vers la source dans le bois [3:54]; Andre JOLIVET (1905-1974) Alla Rustica [6:20]
Judith Hall (flute); Elinor Bennett (harp)
rec. 28-29 November 1989, Wyastone Leys. DDD
NIMBUS NI5247 [59:45]

Experience Classicsonline


 
This is an enjoyable programme of twentieth century music for flute and harp. It includes some well known classics as well as some more unusual repertoire.
 
William Alwyn’s Naiades has become one of the leading twentieth century repertoire pieces for this combination. It is presented well here with Wyastone’s characteristic acoustic and some fine playing. The languid lines are played with a sense of elegant repose and the two instrumental lines are intertwined with a sense of well-judged ensemble. The cadenzas are played with a sense of dramatic development and there is a feeling of well thought out direction and flow throughout. This gives clarity to Alwyn’s structure and musical intentions. This is an excellent performance which is worthy of the cost of the disc in itself.
 
Debussy’s works are well represented here and played with sensitivity. Le Petit Berger is presented in a duo transcription by J. Durand, while Bennett gives a gentle and delicate rendition of the first Arabesque. Syrinx is one of the best known solo flute works, and Judith Hall’s interpretation is enjoyable here, avoiding the all too common over-indulgence that this piece seems to attract.
 
Persichetti was an American composer, and this Serenade is in eight short movements. The American style is evident in the writing but there is a remaining link to Debussy in the music. There is warmth in the mood and in the tones of these instruments that is instantly appealing, and the quality of the playing is highly enjoyable.
 
Carl Nielsen’s short character sketch, The Fog is Lifting is a charming work which is both elegant and lyrical. Composed as incidental music for Helga Roden’s play, Moderen, this miniature is well written and highly entertaining.
 
The opening of Anthony Payne’s A 1940s Childhood has a pulsing bass line which contrasts well with the other music on the disc. Lyrical melody lines have more angular harmonic structures here, giving a haunting and atmospheric quality to the music. The second movement features fast moving repeated note patterns which twist and turn, gradually building a sense of drama and energy. The third movement is gentler that the opening but maintains the haunting musical language, and gradually builds towards the final movement, which portrays a dream sequence of a girl on horseback. This is an excellent work which deserves to become better known.
 
Tournier’s solo harp piece, Vers la source dans le bois, follows, providing an enjoyable interlude with shimmering textures and some dazzling harp writing. The disc concludes with Jolivet’s Alla Rustica, a French dance-style work based on folk melodies which are woven into a thrilling divertissement.
 
This is an excellent disc which has much to offer and deserves to be heard.
 

Carla Rees
 

 


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