Works for five flutes or five instruments from the flute
family are certainly not common. Prior to reviewing this album, the
only works for five flutes I knew of were Joseph Bodin de Boismortier’s
6 Concertos for 5 Flutes, Op.15. None of those is featured on this album.
Instead, arrangements and new compositions are featured.
Quintessenz – Leipzig Flute Ensemble was founded in 1996, inspired
by the wish to perform chamber music with an unusual combination of
five musicians, all playing different flute instruments. Its members
are players with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Halle Staatskapelle
and the Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra. The ensemble’s instrumentation
consists of two flutes and one each of piccolo, alto flute and bass
Except for the two original compositions, all the arrangements on this
album were made by the ensemble’s piccolo player Gundrun Hinze.
Giachino Rossini’s La Danza, Felix Mendelssohn’s
A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Camille Saint-Saëns’
Dance macabre are well known and do not need introduction.
Claude Debussy’s La danse de Puck - Capricieux et léger
is taken from Préludes I pour piano. Franz Doppler’s
Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise, Op.26 is one of the most popular
showpieces for flute, originally scored for flute and piano. Hinze’s
arrangement of Marin Marais’s Les Folies d’Espagne
is based on a transcription for flute solo of Marin Marais’s original.
Anže Rozman, a young Slovenian composer, worked with Quintessenz
on the composition of Medusa, in which he makes use of modern
playing techniques such as “explosive harmonics”, glissandi,
bamboo sounds and different noise-like blowing techniques that hark
back to archaic sounds of the Middle East.
Ian Clarke is a British flutist who has written many works for flute
or multiple flutes. S p e l l s was written in 2014 specifically for
Quintessenz, and employs a variety of modern extended techniques on
flute, expertly written by the flautist-composer.
All the pieces on the album are expertly played by Quintessenz. The
players draw a huge palette of tone colours from their instruments,
and there are numerous extended techniques on display in many of the
musical selections. The fun in their music-making is palpable. Especially
impressive is the simulation of the rasping sound of an old shawm in
Anže Rozman’s Medusa, helped by the group’s
use of their “buzzing headjoint” with a vibrating membrane.
The booklet is in English and German, with notes by Gundrun Hinze.
This is an interesting album that should appeal to flute players and
aficionados, particularly those playing in flute ensembles or those
simply interested in such music.
Wai Kit Leung
Contents Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La Danza – Tarantella Napolitana [3:00]
Anže ROZMAN (b.1989) Medusa (World Premiere Recording) Act 1 - The Beauty and Athena´s Curse [5:58] Act 2 - The Beast and the Battle of Perseus [6:48]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La danse de Puck - Capricieux et léger from Préludes I pour
piano, No. 11 [2:38]
Felix MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY (1909-1847) A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 21 Notturno [4:52] Scherzo [2:36] Lied (Song for the Fairies) [2:21] Ein Tanz von Rüpeln (Dance of the Clowns) [1:46] Finale [4:17]
Franz DOPPLER (1821-1883) Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise, Op. 26 for Flute and Piano [10:16] Ian CLARKE (b. 1964) S p e l l s [7:44]
Conjuring - still then emerging - Capricious - Transformation - Freely,
questioning – Finale
Marin MARAIS (1656-1728)
Les Folies d’Espagne [11:15] Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Danse macabre, Op. 40 [5:32]