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Entr’acte
Jean-Phillipe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
Prelude, Contredanse; Gavotte I and II,1 Passepied I and II (1745) [7:38]
Michel BLAVET (1700-1768)
Menuet de Trompette, Autre Menuet, Autre, Rondeau dans Zaide [5:01]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
The Little Shepherd (1908) [2:30]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) 
Pavane (1887) [5:44]
Erik SATIE (1866-1925)
Gymnopédie (1888)
Gnossiènne (c.1890) [6:07]
Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989)
Three Pieces for Flute and Guitar from Five Short Pieces for Piano: Andante; Moderato; Allegro moderato (1936) [3:50]
Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974)
Corcovado (1933) [2:31]
Jacques IBERT (1890-1962)
Entr'acte (1935) [4:39]
All arr. Adam Pounds except Fauré, Milhaud, Ibert.
Dinah Pounds (flute) Adam Pounds (guitar)
rec. no details supplied
CAMBRIDGE RECORDINGS CAMR005 [60:00]

Let me begin by stating that the husband and wife duo of Dinah and Adam Pounds have produced a fascinating recording. They have been giving flute and guitar recitals for more than twenty years; this has included performances for music societies, corporate events and chamber concerts. They have a wide repertoire spanning works from the Baroque era to the twentieth century by way of the romantic composers. All of these genres are represented on this present disc which features music by French composers - Berkeley is an honorary Frenchman. The playing is inspiring and thoroughly enjoyable. It is a CD that can be listened to as background music, or for the enjoyment of the individual works.
 
As far as I can see, there is only one work here that was originally conceived for the flute and guitar - Ibert’s ‘Entr’acte’. All the others are arrangements or transcriptions of music for other forces. Although I have nothing against transcriptions in principle, I do find that well-known pieces for one medium do not necessarily gain ‘added value’ in another. For example, in spite of Adam Pounds’ eloquent plea for the arrangement of three of Berkeley’s ‘Five Short Pieces’ for piano in the current Berkeley Society Journal, I do not feel that I want to here them in this version. They may ‘work’ but they are near perfect as they were. The same applies to Darius Milhaud's ‘Corcovado’ from the delicious Saudades do Brasil. To be fair, Fauré’s ‘Pavane’ has been transcribed for virtually everything under the sun: and this applies to Satie’s Gymnopédies and Gnossiènnes too. However the bottom line is: do they work? In most cases, yes, they do - ish. Is there such a shortage of original music for flute and guitar? I guess there must be. On a more positive note, I believe that the Rameau and Blavet works are perfect in their balance, texture and sound. They are ideal transcriptions.
 
Out of interest, the Jacques Ibert work was part of some incidental music written in 1935 for a French production of a play by the Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón - El médico de su honra. The Entr’acte was extracted and arranged for flute or violin and guitar or harp. The opening is impressive - influenced by Flamenco dance; this is a breathless ‘toccata.’ However the mood changes and there is a variation on the theme. Once again the Iberian mood is foremost. There is a short guitar solo and then follows a cadenza and a final iteration of the opening theme. This piece is beautifully played on this disc.
 
I have a number of issues with the CD’s presentation. Firstly, I cannot read the liner notes, such as they are. They have been overprinted in a white font on a digitally modified photograph, and have become virtually illegible. I needed to get the magnifying glass on them. Even then I struggled. Secondly, the liner-notes are not fulsome: I would like to have read lots more about these works - the Ibert and the Rameau in particular. Thirdly, what on earth is the reason that nine of the tracks are repeated in glorious 78rpm sound complete with wobble, surface noise and cracks? It seems pointless - except as a gimmick. Nostalgia? The recording time - not including the reprise - is only 38 minutes of music, which seems a bit short.

So with these caveats, I have to say my impression of this CD was a wee bit mixed. I cannot fault the playing, and the choice of music is excellent, in spite of my concerns about transcriptions.
 
John France  




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