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Andy Findon - Density 21.5
Andy SCOTT (b.1966) KBM
[5:28]; Edgar VARÈSE (1883-1965)
Density 21.5 [3:43]; Michael NYMAN
(b.1944) Song for Tony [5:21]; Geoff
EALES The 11th Commandment [5:35]; J.S.
BACH (1685-1750) Partita in A minor for solo flute
[13:17]; Andy SCOTT Eighteen
[2:28]; Michael NYMAN Canzona
[6:42]; David HEATH (b.1956)
Coltrane [6:47]; David CULLEN
(b.1942) Sonata for solo flute [9:10]; Michael
NYMAN Yamamoto Perpetuo
No. 5 [3:29]; Yamamoto Perpetuo No. 9 [2:18]; Michael
NYMAN Song for Tony [5:23]
Andy Findon (flute, alto flute, piccolo, baritone saxophone),
rec. 11-12 April 2011, Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk. DDD
NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6157 [66:45]
Long-standing member of the Michael Nyman Band and one of the
UK’s leading session musicians, Andy Findon is known for his
versatility and flair. This disc of unaccompanied works demonstrates
Findon’s skills on flute, alto flute, piccolo and baritone saxophone,
with repertoire ranging from J.S. Bach to world premiere recordings
of recently written works.
The opening track, Andy Scott’s KBM is an appealing
jazz-style piece which creates a laid-back atmosphere, despite
the technical demands on the player. Varèse’s Density 21.5
is the title track of the disc, and is heard here performed
on a platinum flute, as the work was originally intended. The
difference in tone between this and the previous work is striking,
with the platinum flute possessing a brightness and power that
is particularly impressive in the extreme high register. Findon’s
playing here is utterly dazzling, with a sense of total commitment
to the music. This makes for an emotionally intense performance.
The rich warmth of the baritone sax comes as an enjoyable contrast
and Nyman’s Song for Tony is a simple, resonant melody
which is later also heard on the flute at the end of the disc.
The piece gradually grows in intensity as the music progresses.
Geoff Eales’ The 11th Commandment
is a jazz work with an 11/8 time signature, which helps to give
it a distinctive character. This is a demanding work which presents
numerous challenges to the player. Findon remains in control
and full of energy throughout.
No solo flute CD is complete without Bach’s A minor solo sonata,
and Findon’s rendition of the opening Allemande is
refreshingly simple, avoiding too much rubato and giving the
music just enough space to breathe. The Courante is
light and sprightly, with well articulated semi-quavers and
some enjoyable ornamentations. The Sarabande is haunting
and the Bourrée Anglaise is well measured
and controlled, with more charming ornamentations. Findon’s
personality comes out strongly in this performance and while
the interpretation may not be to everyone’s taste, it is refreshing
to hear a version of this piece which has such a clear sense
of a performer’s musical persona.
A second Andy Scott work, Eighteen for baritone saxophone
follows. This is a bubbly piece with some infectious riffs and
an impulsive sense of energy throughout. Michael Nyman’s Canzona
is heard here in recorded form for the first time too, although
it was composed for flute player Clarissa Melville in 1965.
This is a charming work which develops to incorporate repeated
rhythmic fragments and contrasting moods.
Coltrane is one of Dave Heath’s best known flute works.
This is the first time the flute has been recorded on an alto
instrument, at the suggestion of the composer, and the result
is extremely convincing. Findon has a natural sense of the required
style, and the sound of the alto flute brings out the Eastern
influences. This is without doubt one of the best renditions
of this piece that I have heard.
David Cullen’s Sonata is in three movements, and builds
up harmony through the use of arpeggiated figures and repeated
intervallic fragments. Cullen is best known as an arranger and
orchestrator for theatre, but his compositional skill is not
to be ignored. The first movement has the feel of a considered
improvisation, with lyrical lines and a sense of organic development.
The second movement features rapid articulation in alternation
with more flowing melodies, while the final movement is contemplative
with some enjoyable twists of phrase. It is played with expression
Two other Nyman tracks complete the disc. They are taken from
Yamamoto Perpetuo and are convincingly performed on
baritone sax and piccolo.
Overall this is an impressive disc which has much to offer,
including a good selection of new repertoire. Worth exploring.