Tarek YOUNIS* Rising from the ashes [11:09]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)/Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Ave Maria [5:02]
Marguerite BÉCLARD d’HARCOURT (1884-1964) arr. Chants Péruviens [13:32]
Hamilton HARTY (1879-1941) In Ireland - Fantasy [7:12]
Boghos GELALIAN (1927-2011) Quatre Jeux [7:00]
K. YAMADA, arr. YASHIRO* Lullaby from the Chugoko area [2:23]
Jacques IBERT (1890-1962) Entr’Acte [3:07]
YASHIRO*arr. Sakura Sakura [6:50]
Anon El Quintapesares [2:21]; El Frutero [1:59]; El Cameleon [1:44]
C. BONET* La Partida [2:14]
Gustavo SAMELA* adapt. Bailetico de Procesion [1:34]
Anon Camino Pelao [1:13]
Wissam Boustany (flute), Nigel Clayton (piano), Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp)
rec. St Georges’, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK, 9-11 September 1997
NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6169 [67:44]
Coming soon after a recent disc I reviewed entitled Mirror of Eternity, this disc also showcases the incredible talent of Wissam Boustany, flautist extraordinaire. On this disc his amazing abilities are very much in evidence as he is accompanied by only piano and harp and one is able to hear his wonderfully silky tone even more clearly. The purity of the sound of the flute seems a perfect vehicle for a disc that will help raise money for the flautist’s charity Library on Wheels that delivers books and organises other educational projects to support Palestinian children in isolated villages. This is part of his wider long term initiative Towards Humanity that supports communities suffering from war. These lofty aims would be reason enough to buy the disc so it’s all the more gratifying that the music is sublime as is the playing.
The disc begins with a truly haunting piece Rising from the ashes by Jordanian composer Tarek Younis, about whom I could find nothing. I hope that the email I have sent him will result in some information. The title of the piece has significance in light of the charity the disc is supporting. There is an irrepressible spirit in Man that the worst excesses by others cannot totally quench. There is always hope and a charity like Boustany’s exemplifies that. The work itself is achingly beautiful and serves to embody the title Wandering Winds. Accompanied by piano the flute weaves wondrous magic full of “the mystery of the East”. This leaves a lasting impression and a desire to hear more from this undoubtedly talented composer. Beginning softly and slowly the music sets up a backcloth against which it develops. It becomes more restless from mid-point with the piano taking a more active attacking role. The flute confers a calming influence and in unison the two instruments bring the work to a satisfying conclusion.
The Bach-Gounod Ave Maria is an obvious choice for a disc of flute music. Though it may seem hackneyed at times, this rendition is so lovely that any such thought is soon banished. There then follow ten short Chants Péruviens (Peruvian songs) that are extremely satisfying, recalling the groups that became so popular in the 1980s and 1990s bringing Latin-American melodies to the West in the wake of Simon and Garfunkel’s success with The Flight of the Condor (El Condor Pasa). Here the flute and harp stand in for panpipes and guitar. They work perfectly together in bringing out the charm of these folk-inspired pieces, cleverly arranged by French composer and ethno-musicologist Marguerite Béclard d’Harcourt. Finding Irish composer Hamilton Harty’s music in this mix might at first seem a little strange. It fact it only serves to underline the international dimension that music has and its ability to eliminate barriers and highlight similarities. Harty’s In Ireland creates no incongruity at all even when following hard on the heels of the Peruvian pieces. In much the same way music from India, Spain and Eastern Europe can happily co-exist. It’s fascinating to hear how there are far more similarities than there are differences. Harty’s work here is just so gorgeous you want to hear it over and over again. Perhaps finding something by an Armenian composer forming another part of the musical sandwich here is just as unusual. Boghos Gelalian’s four pieces Quatre Jeux are again proof that music is the only genuinely international language. These four short solo flute gems are wonderfully evocative and mellifluously beautiful. As if to further emphasise this international flavour the next piece is Japanese in origin. Wissam Boustany explains in the accompanying notes that he knows little about it but that that doesn’t stop him loving it: hear! hear!
Once again in this surprising mix of musical origins we are jolted back to the West in the shape of Jacques Ibert, a French composer wearing his Spanish hat with Entr’Acte. This is something incidentally that he did extremely well. Someone once said that the best Spanish music was written by Frenchmen and though untrue a lot of great Spanish sounding music was: Debussy, Chabrier and Ravel to name but a few. Then we’re are plunged back to Japan with the sumptuously beautiful Sakura, Sakura (Cherry Blossom). It bursts into being as does the blossom each year before the tree returns to its stark nature. The whole disc is rounded off with some more South American dances from that all too well known composer Anon as well as something by a C. Bonet about whom I could again find nothing. The same goes for the composer who adapted Bailetico de Procesion, Gustavo Samela, except that he was Argentinean. In any case these six short pieces are again lovely and so perfectly suited to Boustany’s wonderfully fluid and pure tone. They complete a brilliant and highly enjoyable disc.
Boustany, it says in the notes, teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The students there are fortunate indeed to enjoy teaching from such a true artist. The two accompanists on the disc are wonderfully supportive and highly accomplished musicians. Together they have produced a disc that will bring pleasure every time it is played.
A disc that will bring pleasure every time it is played.