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Marcel Moyse (flute)
In Person - Live Performances 1953 and Rare 78s
Louis Moyse (flute and piano)
Blanche Honegger-Moyse (violin and viola)
Jean Lafon (guitar)
Lamoureux Orchestra/Eugène Bigot
rec. 1930s-1952
PARNASSUS PACD96069 [77:55]

This disc falls usefully into two halves. The first is a live concert recording given in the Harvard Musical Association Music Room on 22 February 1952, whilst the second half is given over to 78s that have never previously been reissued on LP or CD. Every scrap of Marcel Moyse is precious, still more when his Harvard recital saw the appearance of his son Louis and Blanche Honegger-Moyse, Louis’ wife who plays, as customarily, violin and viola. Louis was an excellent flautist who had studied with Marcel and with Philippe Gaubert and composed for the instrument. He was also a proficient pianist. An extensive collection of his recordings has appeared on Lyrichord (see review).

The Harvard music room is clearly a relatively small one but its very slightly boxy sound, without much reverberation, is more than adequately compensated for given the clarity of that sound and its expert remastering. Clever programming by the trio ensures a logical progression of music from Bach to a piece by Louis Moyse himself. The flute and violin fuse well in Bach’s Trio Sonata BWV1038 and there’s considerable expressive breadth in a performance the highlight of which is Marcel Moyse’s exquisite control of legato in the third movement Adagio. JC Schultze’s Duo for two flutes was for many years attributed to Handel and whilst the Moyses plays only the third and fourth movements, it’s enough to show the quality of the music and the vivid sense of projection of the two flautists. Haydn’s little Trio, in which Blanche plays an adapted part for viola - the kind of thing Lionel Tertis was so often wont to do – is notable for buoyancy of rhythm. Parnassus has done itself down by a minute’s timing on the Presto finale – 1:23 not 0:23.

The remainder of this concert is all-Gallic; Ibert’s incidental music to Le Burlador arranged by the composer for trio forces and played with loving warmth – Louis’ harp evocations at the piano are, in their own way, as eloquent as the flute and violin playing. The finale is brilliantly fast, full of the choicest articulation, and a kind of French czardas. Marcel plays Debussy’s Syrinx with predictable tonal variety and structural understanding, there’s a sweet and lissome La Chanson by Marcel Gennaro, viola pizzicati underpinning it, and a capricious Serenade by Louis Moyse to finish. The encore is Rabaud’s Andante and Scherzo, of which the latter is played. Applause is retained for this piece only.

There’s more Ibert, a Moyse specialty, in the commercial legacy. The Concerto, with Eugène Bigot and an unnamed orchestra, was recorded in 1935 for HMV. It has a punchy, forward sound with a solidly placed bass line that allows Moyse’s flute the room for aerial insouciance, for languorous lyricism – the heart of the music is its central movement – and for freewheeling virtuosity in the finale. The Entr’acte for flute and guitar was recorded earlier that year, with Jean Lafon exuding Tárrega-like passion on the guitar and the Sevillian allure of the piece easily surmounting the 1930s sonics. The Cimarosa Concerto in G for two flutes – Marcel and Louis – is accompanied by Bigot again, this time with the Lamoureux Orchestra in 1948. This is Marcel’s own revision, and one appreciates his clever cadenza, the charm of the Largo and the control of the Rondo finale. There’s a bit of a noticeable side-join in the first movement at 4:15.

There’s an affectionate booklet note from Moyse pupil Paula Robison and a biographical sketch by Leslie Gerber. This is a most attractive addition to the Moyse family discography and flautists/flutists and enthusiasts should find this an appealing acquisition.

Jonathan Woolf

Concert recording, Harvard Musical Association Music Room, 22 February 1952
J.S. BACH: Trio Sonata for flute, violin & continuo in G, BWV1038 [9:05]
J.C. SCHULTZE: Duo in E Minor for 2 flute (formerly attrib. Handel) [4:38]
F.J. HAYDN: Trio No. 1 in C for 2 flutes & cello (arr. 2 flutes & viola) [5:17]
Jacques IBERT: Le Burlador–incidental music (arr. composer as Trio (1946) [7:52]
DEBUSSY: Syrinx (flute solo) [2:21]
Marcel GENNARO: La Chanson (2 flutes & viola) [2:45]
Louis MOYSE: Serenade for 2 flutes & viola [2:26]
Henri RABAUD: Andante et scherzo pour flûte, violon et piano, (from Op. 8) Scherzo, Presto [2:06]
Marcel Moyse (flute): Louis Moyse (flute and piano): Blanche Honegger-Moyse (violin and viola)
Non-reissued commercial recordings:
Domenico CIMAROSA: Concerto in G for 2 flutes & orchestra (revised) [16:52]
Marcel Moyse, Louis Moyse, flutes; Lamoureux Orchestra / Eugène Bigot
IBERT: Concerto for flute and orchestra (1913) [17:15]
Marcel Moyse, flute; orchestra; Eugène Bigot, conductor
IBERT: Pièce pour flute seul Marcel Moyse, flute [3:06]
IBERT: Entr’acte for flute & guitar [3:11]
Jean Lafon (guitar)

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