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CD Reviews

Editor | May 2012

The Flute Music of Andy Scott

   Andy Scott, saxophonist and composer, is the saxophone tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and vice-president of the International Saxophone Committee. He was a recipient of a British Composer Award in 2006 and divides his time between performing and composition. TheBadTemperedFlute is a collection of ten pieces commissioned and performed by Paul Edmund-Davies, Clare Southworth and Andy Findon with Craig Ogden, guitar; Lauren Scott, harp; and pianists Tim Carey and Peter Lawson.
   And Everything Is Still for flute and piano was commissioned in 2008 by the Royal Northern College of Music and dedicated to Paul Edmund-Davis. I really enjoyed My Mountain Top, an eight-minute piece for alto flute and narrator. The writing, which is haunting, liquid, and sensitive, offers a perfect vehicle for Edmund-Davis to demonstrate his artistry.
   Both the Sonata for Flute and Piano (2003) and the Sonata for Flute and Harp (2002) were commissioned and performed by Clare Southworth. Southworth is joined by Tim Carey, piano and Lauren Scott, harp on the CD. Besides being beautifully performed by all artists, Southworth’s execution of the jazzy rhythms, extended techniques, and lyrical passages show what an outstanding performer she is.
   Flutist Andy Findon is featured on three shorter pieces, Eighteen, Fujiko, and Paquito. Eighteen is for solo flute with jazzy elements and some extended techniques, while Fujiko is for flute and piano and Paquito for flute and harp. Findon has an expressive singing, haunting sound and fluid technique. This CD, featuring the works of one composer, is certainly worth a listen.

Flute Music from the Periphery of Europe

Paul Taub, Flute; Artur Avanesov, Piano; Nathan Whittaker, Cello; Valerie Muzzolini-Gordon, Harp; Matthew Kocmieroski, Percussion; Mikhail Shmidt, Violin; Natasha Bazhanov, Violin; Julie Whitton, Viola; David Sabee, Cello; Roger Nelson, Piano

   Seattle flutist Paul Taub’s recording presents works by composers of the former republics of the Soviet Union. The first track, Namu-Amida-Butsu for flute and piano (2001), is by Armenian composer Artur Avanesov. The composer writes, “The title of this piece is a Japanese expression. It has many translations; for me, however, the most important is ‘I accept the power of the illuminated.’” Avanesov also noted in his diary that the music reflects, “lost gardens in Yerevan, spring 2000; blooming trees, foreign planets, pure prayers; all the fallings-in-love; reminiscence of Chopin through the Japanese flute” but goes on to say the music is never descriptive. The composer is the collaborative pianist on this performance. 
   Peteris Vasks’ Sonata for unaccompanied flute/alto flute (1995) incorporates elements of Latvian folklore and sounds of nature (such as birdsong). The first and third movements are titled Night and are based on the same musical material. They utilize performance techniques of multiphonics and simultaneous playing and singing. The middle movement Flight features virtuoso writing for the flute to explore the image of a lost butterfly trying to find her way towards a distant light. 
   Other compositions on this CD are by Giya Kancheli (Georgia), Elmir Mirzoev (Azerbaijan) and Sergei Slonimsky (Russia) for mixed consort chamber ensembles. Taub has worked extensively to promote Soviet/Russia composers in America and American composers in the former Soviet Union. and

Michel Pignolet de Montéclair
Six Concerts for Two Transverse Flutes without Bass

Marie-Céline Labbé, Transverse Flute; Marion Treupel-Franck, Transverse Flute

   While Pignolet’s music is not well-known, it provides a glimpse into  musical life at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries. Michel Pignolet (1667-1737) began his musical career as a choir boy at the age of eight at the Saint-Mammès Cathedral, a musical institution established in the Middle Ages. At the age of 20, he set off to Paris to make his name. Eight years later he was listed in the tax records as a dancing and instrumental teacher. In 1697 Ballard, a music publisher and dealer, brought out Montéclair’s (as he was now calling himself) Nine Serious or Drinking Airs, two other volumes of similar content, and his most important work to date, the Serenade, or Concert, divided into three suites for violins, flutes, and oboes. In 1699 Montéclair was engaged as a member of the orchestra of the Royal Academy of Music, a position he held for over 40 years. He is credited with bringing the double bass into the orchestra. He continued to compose throughout his career publishing these Six Concerts between 1721 and 1724. The Concerts contain 64 duos written in the French and Italian style.
   These works are exquisitely performed by Marie-Céline Labbé and Marion Treupel-Franck. Labbé, originally from Quebec, has been a member of the Vienna Academy since 1991 and has performed with various baroque orchestras throughout Europe. Marion Treupel-Franck, from Munich, teaches traverso at the Richard Strauss Conservatorium and the Hochschule for Music in Munich and has performed with various baroque orchestras. Both have recorded and toured extensively. This recording was made at the Church of Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, Basse-Bodeux, Belgium. and

The Silverwind Duo:
American Kaleidoscope

Nicole McPherson, Flute, Andrew Seigel, Clarinet

   In 2005 the Silverwind Duo commissioned Sy Brandon to write Kaleidoscope. The piece was inspired by the ever-changing geometric shapes that one sees when looking through the children’s toy. The shapes are depicted in Triangles in 3rds, Quadrangles on 4ths and Pentagons on 5ths. The work is scored for a variety of pairings of instruments from the flute and clarinet families. 
   The oldest composition on the recording is Robert Russell Bennett’s Suite (1973). Each bagatelle in this set quickly captures the style, atmosphere, and mood of early 20th century dance forms. Each movement is only slightly longer than a minute but offers ample time for the Silverwind Duo to show their excellent chamber music playing skills. 
Other compositions on the recording are by composers Gary Schocker (Airheads), Jane Brockman (Shadows), Cynthia Folio (Developing Hues), Robert Wykes (Three Faces of Friendship) and Philip Parker (Games). For anyone contemplating a flute and clarinet recital, this repertoire is some of the best around. Nicole J. McPherson and Andrew Seigel are both teachers at SUNY/Fredonia. American Kaleidoscope was recorded at Rosch Recital hall, SUNY/Fredonia, in 2009. Emeritus 20102/2010 Emeritus Recordings