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Jonathan Woolf
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Delicate Omens
Emerson [14:41]
Uncompahgre [13:07]
Quixote [9:40]
Carmen MARET
Creole Ballet [12:02]
Angel Forever [5:39]
Folias Duo
rec. 2019, Sono Luminus Studios, Boyce, USA
FOLIAS MUSIC FM-02 [55:09]

The Michigan-based husband-and-wife team of Andrew Bergeron (guitar) and Carmen Maret (flute, alto flute, piccolo) is Folias Duo. They have come up with a selection of their own compositions for flute and guitar. It’s their seventh album and their second (or ‘sophomore’ in American, as per their notes) on their own label.

Bergeron is the guitarist and he inclines to literary inspirations, taking Emerson as a musical conduit in the piece of the same name. There are three movements, the central one of which gives its name to the album title. Originally composed for soprano voice, alto flute and guitar, he has refashioned it for just the two instrumental voices. The result is music of supple rhythmic variety, lyric impulse and, in the last panel, slightly stealthy filmic impressions. Uncompahgre – the word means ‘red water spring’ in the Native American Ute language - has shimmering iridescence but in its central movement seems to invoke very much more the world of Tárrega. Bergeron is unapologetic – quite right too – about modelling his finale on the third movement of Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata; there’s a flighty element to the palindromic nature of the writing here. Another work in which he reveals his indebtedness to literature is Quixote, a bipartite piece dividing into ‘Penance’ and ‘Chivalry’. Naturally an Iberian ethos permeates this, with tremolandos and arpeggiation. This is an evocative work and well worth listening to though it’s clearly not an attempt to distil Cervantes in 9 minutes 40.

Carmen Maret’s Creole Ballet is made up of six dance movements. Here the gaucho reigns supreme, with some stylized elements, and tango nuevo to enjoy as well as, in the sinuous and sexy concluding Tango, some whimsical moments too. The recital ends with her touching envoi, Angel Forever, where she plays the alto flute, which gives it an altogether more melancholic vocalised register, alongside its more sinuous qualities. She even quotes very briefly, but tellingly, from Sebastian Piana’s Milonga Triste, a classic piece from 1936.

The recording is exemplary in balancing the two instruments. This enjoyable album gives a strong taste of the duo’s musical and literary interests and enthusiasms.

Jonathan Woolf

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