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Silver Voice
Katherine Bryan (flute)
Orchestra of Opera North/Bramwell Tovey
rec. Leeds Town Hall, Leeds, UK, 2017

This disc was a pet project for Katherine Bryan, a soloist of singular talent who has justifiably carved a name for herself in the pantheon of great flutists. With the flute being the nearest in sound to the human voice it seems a small and natural step to come up with the idea of using the flute in repertoire from operas. The result is that the choice she came up with seems tailor-made for her instrument and as such it works perfectly. The soaring nature of the flute mirrors the human voice so well that the disc is a pleasure to listen to. One’s personal favourite will depend very much on what aria the listener particularly favours; mine was Dvořák’s Song of the Moon from his opera Rusalka which I have always considered the most beautiful tune. Two others that worked especially well I felt were Delibes’ Flower Song from his opera Lakmé and Gershwin’s Summertime that seems to stand up to any number of transcriptions. The orchestra of Opera North, under Bramwell Tovey, does Bryan great service and shows itself as one of the UK’s premier bands, a position it richly deserves.

No-one can blame Katherine Bryan for wanting to make the most of her talent and her third released disc of transcriptions of music for violin and orchestra became one of Classic FM’s top twenty albums of 2015. While I enjoyed the disc well enough I think it likely that it is in the Classic FM hall of fame that it is most likely to find the most favour and indeed it was John Suchet’s Album of the Week at the end of October. Classic FM is, after all, where ‘bleeding chunks’ form the bulk of their broadcast material. While serious music buffs will be unlikely to rush in any great numbers to buy it the disc passes a pleasant hour.

Steve Arloff

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Fantasy on ‘Die Zauberflöte’ on themes from Mozart’s opera (1791)
arranged by Robert Janssens (Robert Fobbes) b.1939 [12:33]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
O mio babbino caro (from Gianni Schicchi (1918) [2:45]
Charles-François GOUNOD (1818-1893)
Ah, je ris de me voir (‘Jewel’ Aria from Faust, 1859) [4:56]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Dove sono I bei momenti (from Le nozze de Figaro, 1786) [4:52]
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Song to the Moon (from Rusalka,1901) [6:41]
Charles-François GOUNOD
Je veux vivre (from Roméo et Juliette, 1867) [3:32]
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Summertime (from Porgy and Bess, 1935) [3:06]
Léo DELIBES (1836-1891)
Flower Duet (from Lakmé, 1883) [3:57]
Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948)
Vilja Song (from Die Lustige Witwe, 1905) [5:33]
Un bel di vedremo (from Madama Butterfly, 1904) [4:42]
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Carmen Fantasy (Fantaisie brillante on Themes from Bizet’s Opera, 1875,
Arranged for Flute and Piano by François Borne (1840-1920) and
Orchestrated by Giancarlo Chiaramello (b.1939). Hommage affectueux á son
Ami J.Leybach) [11:37]

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