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New Music for Flute Richard Barrett, Brian Ferneyhough, Salvatore Sciarrino, Dominik Karski, Malin Bång, John Croft and Evan Johnson

Richard Craig (flutes) Karin Hellqvist (violin) and Pontus Langendorf (percussion) and electronics

metier msv28517

INWARD has been in development for six years and the quality of Craig's presentation and attention to detail shows this. He stresses how within an enormous contemporary flute repertoire, few works actually break new ground technically to explore the potential of the flute.

This disc claims to represent the most detailed enquiry of solo contemporary flute repertoire to date, the earliest item the iconic unity capsule (1976) of Ferneyhough, who is enjoying maximum exposure at the present time [q.v. Total Immersion at The Barbican].

A few years back we were thrilled to come across the flautist Mario Caroli and thought him unique... Now each instrument has its "cutting edge" exploratory champion, e.g. London oboist Chris Redgate.

For the flute Richard Craig is certainly one to be reckoned with. (Another innovative flutist who has enthused us is Wil Offermans, who gave an inspirational masterclass at London's Trinity College of Music last year).

Some of Craig's chosen pieces start with sounds and noises that until recently would have been thought of as "interferences" to be avoided, rather than part of the music itself (c.f. Lachenmann's dal niente which needs "a silent ambience in which to hear his near inaudible sounds, punctuated by explosive fortissimi"). That quote relates also to the Sciarrino example here "often teetering on the brink of inaudibility...".

Johnson's L'art de toucher le clavecin 2 works on "a small stable of stock figures" ! [R].

Richard has worked with all of the composers on the release. This is music to take slowly and with an open mind; it grows on you - or on me, anyway...

Peter Grahame Woolf

Fuller review and recommendation at http://johnsonsrambler.wordpress.com/ The first essential new music CD of 2011?


Sonatas of Fauré, Franck and Pierné

Robert Langevin (flute)

Avie: AV2213

Claimed as three staples of the flute repertory, these Sonatas by Fauré (his No 1), Franck and Pierné were all originally conceived for the violin; "the composers sanctioned the adaptations for flute which fit the instrument perfectly naturally", says Avie.

Well, maybe; I haven't checked if any of the originals have double-stoppings etc? Whatever, noting above that "within an enormous contemporary flute repertoire, few works actually break new ground technically to explore the potential of the flute" it is unfortunate that flutists should be encouraged to limit themselves to so familiar idioms.

Well played these are (as you'd expect from principal players of the New York Philharmonic) but I would urge potential flute students and flutists who want to explore these arrangements to try also the important disc reviewed above, to stretch their musical minds...

Peter Grahame Woolf.