Jindrich FELD (1925-2007)

Chamber Music for Flute - Volume 1
Quintetto capriccioso (1994-95) [19:31] ¹
Divertimento (1996) [15:12] ²
Erinnerung an Mozart für Zauberflöte Solo (2001) [3:46]
Cinq inventions (1975) [6:13] ³
Sonatine américaine (1995) [13:44] º
Trio (1963) [11:05] ºº
Carlo Jans (flute) with Members of the Martinu Quartet ¹; Katerína Englichová (harp) ¹; Cary Greisch (guitar) ²; Carine Forget (flute) ³; Daniel Blumenthal (piano) º; Lubomír Havlák (violin); Jitka Vlašánková (cello) ºº
rec. at Domovina Studios, Prague (Quintetto, Erinnerung, Sonatine and Trio); Studio Cerise Luxembourg (Divertimento); Studio Conservatory of Luxembourg (Cinq Inventions)
ARCO DIVA UP0118-2 131 [70:02]
Carlo Jans has been an inspiring guide to Feld’s music for flute, and this disc inaugurates a series of three CDs devoted to the composer’s chamber music for that instrument. My last encounter with the Feld-Jans combination was in the shape of an Arco Diva concertante disc of music by Feld, Kalabis and Lukáš, and a marvellously invigorating affair it was.
Feld died in 2007 but he knew of the plans to make this series of recordings, and in fact his 2006 ‘foreword’ is reprinted in the booklet. It reads as if he might have heard the recordings, which suggests that they were made in 2006 or earlier, but there are no recording dates noted in the documentation, only locations.
What matters most is the music. This is a disc that offers up six works, written between 1963 and 2001. His customary facility and his wit are in evidence throughout. The Quintetto capriccioso was written during 1994-95 for Susan Milan, another exploratory and hugely effective proponent of contemporary music for the flute. It opens in an intensely crepuscular way but the giocoso feel is soon established and there are rippling, firefly moments aplenty, with the flute agile, the strings propulsive and the harp perfectly integrated into the soundworld. The Scherzino is everything its name promises: brilliantly fast and exciting, before slowing to a troubadour-like central panel, folksong escaping over tabor taps. We’re transported to the Bohemian Renaissance. The fluid precision of Feld’s writing is confirmed by the slow movement, a touchingly refined aria, before the finale banishes care, ultimately alluding to the folksong-and-tabor of the Aria interotta in a puckish close.
The Divertimento for flute and guitar is imbued with delightful, often lazily strung impressionistic lines, though once again Feld proves a champion of scherzi in his rhythmically invigorating writing. Erinnerung an Mozart für Zauberflöte Solo was written in 2001 and is a brief solo for the flute, elaborating on the theme and inviting a modicum of over-blowing to good effect. The Cinq inventions are stylish products of the mid-1970s. Brief they may be but arid – never. Instead these studies for two flutes allow the instrumentalists great opportunities for succinct characterisation. And especially in the Canon [No.3, track 12] there are chances for real wit. Sonatine américaine is for flute and piano. Sparkling dialogue animates it, though the reflective slow movement grants depth to Feld’s French-leaning sound palette. It sounds most American in the Scherzino where there’s a feel of syncopation and jazzy engagement. Finally there’s the earliest work here, the Trio of 1963. This was his mid, or second period, and the time of his experiments with dodecaphonic techniques. The writing though busy is malleable and achieves a kernel of expressive depth in the melancholic slow movement. The finale is lissom, Francophile, bracing and engaging. There’s nothing at all off-putting about this at all.
With performances cut from the topmost cloth, and recording quality to match - despite the trio of recording locations - this new series is inaugurated in great style. Feld deserves nothing less.
Jonathan Woolf
A new series inaugurated in great style. Feld deserves nothing less. ... see Full Review