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Louis Moyse Plays: Volumes 1-7
Louis Moyse (flute, conductor)
rec. 1958-1976
CDs available separately
LYRICHORD CLASSICAL LYRCD6031-37 [7 CDs: 8.5 hours]

Flautist Louis Moyse (1912-2007) was the son of Marcel Moyse, himself one of the greatest flute exponents of the twentieth century. The dynasty was an august one. Louis was one of the co-founders of the Marlboro Festival, from which all the performances on these seven discs derive. Given that there was no room to wield the flute in his father’s trio, Louis played the piano and his wife, Blanche Honegger Moyse was violinist. Ironically perhaps, given his own excellence as a flautist, it is as a pianist that he may be best known to record collectors. But he was also a composer and a splendidly prolific editor of music for the flute.

These seven discs are all available singly and document (almost always) live Marlboro performances, none released before. They chart a near two-decade sequence of performances with esteemed colleagues, played in front of small admiring audiences. The range of chamber music performed is wide, stretching from Bach to Martinů, and taking in Weber, Beethoven, Hindemith, Roussel and many others.

The first disc charts a single recital from 1976. Moyse is accompanied by pianist Michael Clemens, He plays Bach’s Sonata in G minor with fine legato and an occasional smeary approach in trills. The Haydn, in his own arrangement, is a charmer and there is buoyancy aplenty in F. X. Mozart’s Rondo. Dexterous athleticism can be savoured in Saint-SaŽns’s Romance. The evocative colour, of which Moyse was so admired a master, can be heard in Roussel’s Joueurs de Flute, a work of agile and fanciful colour played with comparable allure. Ibert’s winding Piece for solo flute shows the completeness of Moyse’s stylistic awareness, whilst his own Sonata No. 1 employs fugal and impressionist elements, the compressed slow movement and scherzo bridged by a cadenza.

There is more evidence of Moyse’s superior status as a Bach performer in the second disc, on which examples from four separate concerts over a decade can be enjoyed. In July 1962 he plays Bach’s E flat major sonata with Claude Frank with its much-arranged central movement. Then in a 1964 concert he joins with fellow flautist Ornuf Gulbransen for the Trio Sonata for two flutes. There is a rather excessively roomy acoustic in this performance but the compensation comes from the playing—and it helps to have the luxury of Rudolf Serkin and cellist David Soyer accompanying. By 1972 it was becoming more usual to have a harpsichord as an accompanying instrument, and the Trio Sonata in G major sees Samuel Sanders assume this role, with cellist John Sessions and violinist Pina Carmirelli—a frequent Marlboro festival line-up in those years. This is a particularly convincing reading. For the Cantata No. 51 Susser Trost, Moyse offers obbligato support to the excellent soprano Benita Valente (whose name is misspelt in the documentation as Valence).

After the all-Bach focus on this second disc, volume three ranges more widely. True, it starts with more Bach, his Sonata No. 3 in E, but here we find Moyse in his role as piano accompanist to his wife, violinist Blanche Honegger Moyse, the Swiss-born pupil of Adolf Busch. This is a rare example of her compact studio discography, but the 1958 Mozart Sonata K401 finds them in Geneva, city of her birth, for a radio broadcast. Blavet’s charming L’Henriette sonata is delightfully played. Moyse’s own Four Dances for flute and violin have folksy elements and a finale full of ripe fantasy. Debussy’s Syrinx was central to Moyse’s solo flute repertoire, and this 1961 performance is a valuable souvenir of his accomplished playing. The Moyse family is closely entwined one way or another with the performance and recording of some of Martinů’s major flute works. The November 1961 performance of the Trio for flute, viola and piano—where Blanche Moyse plays viola and Denise Bidal the piano—is a vivid example of the continuity of affinity, tonal and stylistic, so typical of the Moyse clan.

If the combination of Debussy, Haydn, Roussel and Beethoven attracts, then appetite will be whetted for volume 4. Debussy’s Sonata for flute, harp and viola—Blanche Moyse again the violist and Lucille Lawrence the harpist—is limited in scope only by the circumstances of the recording that are, in truth, not dissimilar to the remainder of the programme. Otherwise this cultured reading proves as enjoyable as Roussel’s Trio in F major, the work’s fluidly dexterous richness containing an admixture of elegy. Violin fanciers should note in the Haydn Trio in G major a rare appearance by itinerant British fiddler Orrea Pernel, close friend of Priaulx Rainier, who also turned up in Prades and was, in her early days, a strong interpreter of Delius and throughout her career a powerful Bachian. Pure charm emanates from Beethoven’s Serenade, with different personnel.

Mezzo-soprano Mary Burgess sings a Telemann cantata at Brattleboro Music Center, with flute, cello and piano accompaniment in January 1968, and then essays Ravel’s Chansons Madacasses with the same forces. The Telemann is full of his melodic distinction and the programmatic juxtaposition is both somewhat startling and highly effective. Along with a CPE Bach Trio, we also hear Duruflť’s Prelude, Recatif et Variations Op. 3 with its plangent soliloquies and ensembles, and Schubert’s avuncular Introduction and Variations on Trockne Blumen—a genial but dance-rich performance. Benita Valente returns in volume 6 for Handel’s concise cantata Nell dell’oblio where the voice is too backwardly placed in relation to the two accompanying instruments. The echo effects here are thus less successful. Martinů’s First Flute Sonata is played with pianist Eleanor Lipkin-Rocchi. Though he takes it at a relatively slow tempo, Moyse certainly brings out the birdsong that saturates this wonderful work. Weber’s Trio Op. 63, with Moyse, Lipkin-Rocchi and cellist Henri Honegger, is collegiate and robust in equal proportion, whilst Mozart’s Flute Quartet K285 has the support of the Gramercy Quartet.

The last disc finds Moyse laying down his flute and directing wind serenades. This shows yet another side of his multifaceted musical persona. He has an astute ear for balance, and he encourages his BMC ensemble toward gemŁtlich readings. The group includes luminaries such as clarinetist Richard Stoltzman and bassoonist Donald MacCourt. The Gran Partita is somewhat robust and not always quite tidy. The DvořŠk D Minor Serenade is affectionately traversed and is probably the more successful performance.

This reaches the end of this never-before released trawl of seven well-filled discs. There are no notes in the discs but a generic PDF file is available on Lyrichord’s website; it applies to all seven discs but does not go into very much detail. It is probably best to select the repertoire and performers of choice rather than purchase en bloc, unless Moyse is a particular obsession.

Jonathan Woolf

Track listing
 
Volume 1 - LYRCD6031 [63:58]
Louis Moyse, flute, Michael Clemens, piano
West Village Meeting House
Brattleboro, Vermont
August 19, 1976
J. S. Bach: Sonata in G Minor 13:09
[1] Allegro Moderato 5:06
[2] Adagio 3:58
[3] Allegro Moderato 4:04
J. Haydn: Two Pieces (arr. Louis Moyse) 5:12
[4] Poco Adagio 1:4
[5] Presto 3:58
[6] F. X. Mozart: Rondo in E Minor 8:46
[7] Saint-Seans: Romance 8:09
Roussel: “Joueurs de Flute” 11:56
[8] Pan 3:29
[9] Mr. de la Pejaudie 2:07
[10] Krishna 5:04
[11] Tityre 1:14
[12] J. Ibert: Piece for Flute Alone 4:55
L. Moyse: First Sonata 20:16
[13] Allegro Moderato 5:17
[14] Lento-Cadenza-Scherzo 10:07
[15] Allegro Scherzando 4:51
 
Volume 2 - LYRCD6032 [69:21]
[1]-[3] J.S. Bach: Sonata in E-Flat Major. 11:06
Louis Moyse, Flute, Claude Frank, Piano
Marlboro Music Festival
Marlboro, Vermont, July 27, 1962.
[4]-[7] J.S. Bach: Trio Sonata in G Major for Two Flutes and Continuo. 15:04
Ornuf Gulbransen, Louis Moyse, Flutes, Rudolf Serkin, Piano, David Soyer, Cello
Marlboro Music Festival • Marlboro, Vermont, July 24, 1964.
[8]-[11] Trio Sonata in G Major for Flute, Violin and Continuo. 10:11
Louis Moyse, Flute, Pina Carmirelli, Violin, John Sessions, Cello, Samuel Sanders, Harpsichord
New England Bach Festival, Marlboro, Vermont, Oct. 8, 1972.
[12]-[14] Cantata No. 51 “Susser Trost, Mein Jesus Komt”. 11:10
Benita Valente, Soprano, Louis Moyse, Flute, Blanche Moyse, Conductor
New England Bach Festival, Marlboro, Vermont, Oct. 8, 1972.
[15]-[18] Trio Sonata in C Minor (from “The Musical Offering. 20:57
Louis Moyse, Flute, Pina Carmirelli, Violin, Timothy Eddy, Cello, Lory Wallfisch, Harpsichord
New England Bach Festival, Marlboro, Vermont, Oct. 6, 1973.
 
Volume 3 - LYRCD6033 [77:39]
[1]-[4] J.S. Bach: Sonata No. 3 in E Major. 18:22
Blanche Moyse, Violin, Louis Moyse, Piano
Studio Recording, 1959.
[5]-[6] Mozart: K. 301 11:16
Blanche Moyse, Violin, Louis Moyse, Piano
Radio Geneva Live Radio Broadcast, Dec, 1958.
[7]-[10] M. Blavet: Sonata “L’Henriette”. 11:14
[11]-[14] Moyse: Four Dances for Flute and Violin. 9:07
[15] Debussy: Syrinx. 2:39
[16]-[18] Martinu: Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano. 20:59
[19] Encore: Martinu: Trio for Flute, Violin and Piano (Scherzo). 3:21
Moyse Trio II
Blanche Moyse, Violin and Viola, Louis Moyse, Flute, Denise Bidal, Piano
White Plains, N.Y., Nov. 4, 1961.
 
Volume 4 - LYRCD6034 [67:54]
[1]-[3] Debussy: Sonata for Flute, Harp and Viola 17:53
Louis Moyse, Flute, Blanche Moyse, Viola, Lucille Lawrence, Harp
Bellows Falls, Vermont, January 1960.
[4]-[6] Haydn: Trio in G Major, Opus 100, for Flute, Violin and Cello. 8:32
[7]-[9] Roussel: Trio in F Major, Opus 40, for Flute, Viola and Cello. 16:12
Louis Moyse, Flute, Orrea Pernel, Violin, Lotte Bamberger, Viola, David Soyer, Cello
Brattleboro Music Center, Green Street School Auditorium, Brattleboro, Vermont, April 21, 1963.
[10]-[17] Beethoven: Serenade in D Major, Opus 25, for Flute, Violin and Viola. 24:58
Louis Moyse, Flute, Nanette Levi, Violin, Lotte Bamberger, Viola
Brattleboro Music Center, Green Street School Auditorium, Brattleboro, Vermont, February 21, 1965.
 
Volume 5 - LYRCD6035 [77:50]
[1]-[3] Telemann: Cantata for Mezzo-Soprano, Flute and Continuo. 13:04
[4]-[6] Ravel: Chansons Madacasses. 14:43
Mary Burgess, Mezzo-Soprano, Louis Moyse, Flute, J. Humston, Cello, John Buttrick, Piano
Brattleboro Music Center, Green Street School Auditorium, Brattleboro, Vermont, January 21, 1968.
[7]-[9] C. P. E. Bach: Trio in G Major for Flute, Viola and Piano. 14:02
[10]-[12] Duruflť: Prelude, Reciatif et Variations, Opus 3. 14:05
[13] Franz Schubert: Introduction and Variations on an Original Theme (Trockne Blumen), Opus 60, for Flute and Piano. 21:38
Louis Moyse, Flute, Phillip Naegele, Viola, John Buttrick, Piano
Brattleboro Music Center, Green Street School Auditorium, Brattleboro, Vermont, March 8, 1970.
 
Volume 6 - LYRCD6036 [76:12]
[1]-[4] Handel: “Nell dell’oblio Gedanken an Phyllis,” Cantata for Soprano, Flute and Continuo. 8:35
[5]-[7] Martinu: First Sonata for Flute and Piano. 18:47
Benita Valente, Soprano, Louis Moyse, Flute, Eleanor Lipkin-Rocchi, Piano
Brattleboro Music Center, Green Street School Auditorium, Brattleboro, Vermont.
[8]-[10] Hindemith: Sonata for Flute and Piano. 14:31
[11]-[14] Weber: Trio in B-Flat Major, Opus 63, for Flute, Cello and Piano. 19:48
Louis Moyse, Flute, Henri Honegger, Cello, Eleanor Lipkin-Rocchi, Piano
Brattleboro Music Center, Green Street School Auditorium, Brattleboro, Vermont,
[15]-[17] Mozart: Flute Quartet in D Major K. 285. 14:12
Louis Moyse, Flute, Gramercy Quartet
Brattleboro Music Center, Green Street School Auditorium, Brattleboro, Vermont, November 21, 1965.
 
Volume 7 - LYRCD6037 [75:38]
[1]-[7] Serenade for Wind Instruments No. 10 in B-Flat Major, K 361.
[8]-[11] Antonin Dvorak: Serenade in D Minor, Opus 44.
BMC Wind Ensemble
Oboes: Henry Schuman, Jane Cochran
Clarinets: Richard Stoltzman, George Cochran
Bassett Horns: William Lewis, Allen Blustein
Bassoons: Donald MacCourt, Richard Vrotney
French Horns: Vincent Schneider, Michael Martin, Earl Chapin, Robert Routch
Cello: Warren Lash
Bass: Barbara Wilson
Conducted by Louis Moyse
Brattleboro Music Center, Green Street School Auditorium, Brattleboro, Vermont, April 12, 1970.

 

 




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