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Inward Dominik KARSKI(b.1972) Streamforms
(2003) [7:54] Brian FERNEYHOUGH(b.1943) Unity
Capsule (1975-6) [11:08] Evan JOHNSON(b.1980) L’Art
de Toucher Le Clavecin, 2 (2009) [8:02] Malin BANG (b.1974) Alpha Waves
(2008) [7:27] Salvatore SCIARRINO (b.1947) Venere
che le grazie la Fioriscono (1989) [8:05] John CROFT (b.1971) …ne l’aura che
trema (2007) [12:57] Richard BARRETT (b.1959) Inward
Richard Craig (flute), Karin Hellqvist (violin), Pontus Langendorf (percussion)
rec. April, July and August 2009 and January 2010, Antonin Artaud Building, Brunel University, Uxbridge, England, and Capitol, Stockholm, Sweden. DDD
METIER MSV28517 [63:24]
Richard Craig is developing a reputation as a leading light
in the performance of contemporary music for solo flute. This
disc features a series of works, many of which are heard here
in their first recording.
Dominik Karsk’s Streamforms is a complex piece for bass
flute which incorporates percussive sounds and tongue-rams to
create a rhythmic groove. This focuses on the physicality of
performance and the relationship between the player and the
instrument. Using air sounds and a wide variety of contemporary
techniques, the music demonstrates the ‘otherworldly’ characteristics
of the bass flute and is a feast for the ears.
Brian Ferneyhough’s new complexity style lends itself well to
the flute and the instrument’s range of available sounds. Unity
Capsule is demanding and displays a full range of sounds
throughout its eleven minute duration. The playing here is convincing
and one has the sense of Craig’s passion for the music. The
phrasing is musical and well communicated, with a good sense
of contrast between the different sections. This is a display
of excellent technical virtuosity of which Craig deserves to
L’art de toucher le clavecin, 2 is a work for piccolo
and violin by Evan Johnson. It takes its title from Couperin’s
seminal score. The connection with Couperin is not clearly evident
from hearing the piece, although the programme notes explain
the composer’s intention of creating something of an abstract
homage, which particularly looks into the use of surface ornamentation.
On this level, the connection can be felt, and Johnson creates
some fascinating textures between the two instruments. The combination
of piccolo and violin is an undoubtedly squeaky one, but is
not without its charms.
Malin BÅng’s alto flute solo, Alpha Waves uses predominantly
air and voice sounds in the opening section to create its distinctive
resonance. The piece deals with the sleep cycle, travelling
through the stages of the cycle in clearly delineated sections.
Salvatore Sciarrino is perhaps the leader in writing for the
intimate complexities of an individual instrument. His works
for flute make use of intensely quiet effects, such as whistle
tones and air sounds. Venere che le grazie la fioriscono
for solo flute has the effect of drawing the listener in,
towards what feels like the internal sounds of the instrument.
The music becomes gradually more frenzied and there is a sense
of an inevitable journey which leads towards the final episode
of the piece. This is thoroughly gripping and exciting to listen
to, and for me, the highlight of the disc.
John Croft’s ...ne l’aura che trema is an atmospheric
work for alto flute and electronics. There are some intensely
beautiful moments and the electronics are used as an extension
of the flute’s sound to create an organic soundscape.
The final work on the disc is Richard Barrett’s Inward
for flute and percussion. There is a sense of the exotic here,
most notably from the range of percussion used, which includes
tabla, temple blocks and a Thai gong. The flute weaves around
the percussion with a muted tone colour and the well considered
use of a range of contemporary techniques such as whistle tones,
tongue-rams and air sounds.
There is no doubt that Richard Craig is a master of contemporary
techniques for his instrument. He approaches the avant-garde
with an obvious technical control and clear musical understanding,
and the music is well communicated. This disc has much to offer
in terms of both its repertoire and quality, and there is a
pleasing consistency of standards throughout.
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