Reviews

Molly Barth: Album Review

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, December 2017, Featured, Issues, Reviews | 0 comments

Molly Barth: Album Review

  This album includes seven chamber works involving flute written between the years 1984 and 2011 by David Lang, co-founder of Bang on a Can and winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. Molly Barth, Associate Professor of Flute at University of Oregon and founding member of eighth blackbird, is the consistent performer throughout all works on this album. Thorn (1993), which features solo flute performed expertly by Molly Barth, features her hugely resonant sound. The extreme register changes are expertly managed and woven into a constantly moving line. It is four delightful minutes of extraordinary control. Lend/Lease (2008) includes Barth on piccolo and introduces woodblocks. The percussion adds a depth to the piccolo sound and also serves to emphasize certain moments of articulation. Short Fall (2000) is a somewhat larger chamber ensemble, including piccolo, violin, cello, and piano. The combination creates a rich texture of complementary sounds. It is balanced so no line emerges as primary, and the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. Zachariah Galatis joins Barth on piccolo for the next work, Involuntary (2011). It is an energetic combination of piccolos, trumpets, and crisp forward momentum provided by snare drum. Vent (1990) features a quickly moving piano line with longer flute gestures over the top; the flute part later switches to the faster motion. The momentum slows towards the end of the piece and then speeds up again, leading to an abrupt end. Driving lines are passed back and forth between the combination of piano, flute, and pizzicato cello in Burn Notice (1988). Contrasting timbres are at work again in the final work on the album, Frag (1984). Short fragments alternate between flute, oboe, and pizzicato cello. Overall, this is a well-executed album of flute and piccolo playing of the absolute highest quality. It receives my strongest recommendation. -Tammy Evans...

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Beta Quartet: Album Review

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, December 2017, Featured, Issues, Reviews | 0 comments

Beta Quartet: Album Review

The award winning Beta Flute Quartet has released their first album! The quartet, newly formed in 2016, includes flutists Brittany Trotter, Eftihia Victoria Arkoudis, Tatiana Cassetta, and Alyssa Schwartz. They’ve won a number of prizes in their short time together including First Prize at the West Virginia Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition, First Prize at the Flute Society of Kentucky Quartet Competition and they were semi-finalists in the 2017 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. Great accomplishments in their first year!! They’ve included some terrific quartet music in this album featuring composers Anze Rozman, Jennifer Higdon, Mark Fromm, Mike Mower, and Derek Charke. I enjoyed all the pieces – Rozman’s Aqua Ventus, which in the Aqua movement evokes running water beautifully; Higdon's Steeley Pause, a virtuosic, intensely difficult and exciting piece;  Mower's Dances of the Lake, a longer 3 movement piece which explores the entire range of the flute in colorful ways; Fictions, by Mike Mower, with four descriptive works- Whirlpool, Drought, Home Side and Flat Out; and Derek Charke’s meditative Raga Sept. The quartet plays each piece with dedication and finesse, deeply finding the essence of each piece in their interpretations. Each player is an accomplished, lovely player with great sound and solid technique, and together they create a unique, virtuosic album of quartets. Give it a listen!! --Barbara...

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Emi Ferguson: Amour Cruel Album Review

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, November 2017, Reviews | 0 comments

Emi Ferguson: Amour Cruel Album Review

Emi Ferguson’s new album is a genre breaking, spectacular work of art! Emi’s premise is, “What if Louis XIV were living today and curated his court composers with musicians like Beyonce, Lana Del Rey or Adele?” In answer to that question, she used 17th century French songs as inspiration and fused old instruments with modern styles and production to create the truly original set of songs on the album. You may be wondering – songs?—flute album? – what’s she talking about?! Not only does Emi play flute(s) including modern and baroque flutes, she is also the stellar vocalist on the album. Yes, she’s a beautiful singer as well, and she wrote and arranged all the music too.   And if you’re wondering what else she does beautifully then check out the video of the opening track and title song, Amour Cruel, and marvel at the beautiful red dress that Emi created and designed! A very accomplished flutist, Emi won First Prize in the NFA’s Young Artist Competition, the NY Flute Club Young Artist Competition, the Mid Atlantic Flute Competition, and the Juilliard Concerto Competition. She is passionate about “new” and “old” music and has performed worldwide on both modern and baroque flutes in Switzerland, New York, and France and at major festivals like Marlboro, Lucerne, and Lake Champlain. We did a video interview of Emi in which she talks about the album, so I’ll spend some time on the songs themselves. As the title song implies, the bilingual tracks are all tales of love gone bad and they pack an emotional punch! The beauty of her flute playing and her expressive and intensely felt singing draw you into to the world of love and loss that are both enhanced by being combined. Track 10, Enfin la beaute que j’adore, for example, brings us back to the Renaissance in style with a slight inflection of folk music as well. The first title track, Amour Cruel, is a mostly vocal work in which Emi sings with deep emotional feeling and vocal inflection, accompanied by flute and a virtuoso team of musicians. In fact, each of her musicians is a virtuoso in their own right and are comfortable in both contemporary and classical styles. The outstanding musicians are Jordan Dodson/guitars, Paul Holmes Morton/theorbo, lute, and guitars, Doug Balliett/basses and viola da gamba and Sam Budish/percussion. On all the selections, Emi’s flute playing is beautiful, refined, expressive and full of sparkle, but to me this all goes without saying as this album is one of the most original and interesting I’ve ever heard. I hope it goes to the top of the pop charts as it is already has on both the classical crossover and classical charts as it has the power to open minds and hearts to classical music in a new way. www.amourcruel.com --Barbara...

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Yubeen Kim: Concert Review. By TAMUC Flute Studio

Posted by on Nov 1, 2017 in Concert Reviews, Featured, Issues, November 2017, Reviews | 0 comments

Yubeen Kim: Concert Review. By TAMUC Flute Studio

  On Sunday, October 1st, 2017, the Texas A&M University-Commerce Flute Studio, directed by Dr. Julee Kim Walker, hosted International Flutist Yubeen Kim, in one of two US Debut Recitals. His performance was held in Jack and Lou Finney Concert Hall on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce in Commerce, TX, with pianist Anastasia Markina. Yubeen’s performance was nothing short of true artistry and passion, and spoke from the heart. Together with Anastasia, they created a magical evening of colorful, powerful music. Here are some of the impressions from the students: “He filled up every single area of the concert hall with a tremendously clear and beautiful sound, regardless of the dynamic!” -Daria Smetana, Senior “His tapers were the best that I've ever heard. There were many moments where I could not tell if he was still playing or if it was the piano!” -Lenora Willman, Sophomore “The fluidity of his double tonguing was something I strive to be able to do!” -Katie Petty, Senior “I throughly enjoyed listening to the expert musicality on his lyrical pieces and his clean, clear, defined technique on his faster pieces. It is everything I strive to be as a musician.” -Hannah VanDover, Freshman “Hearing such a young flutist execute difficult passages inspires me to never leave the practice room! His precision in fast articulation patterns but gracefulness and connectivity in the slower lines exhibits a great variety in style and a phenomenal sense of professional technique.” -Harley Smith, Freshman “After listening to his performance, it was incredibly difficult for me to believe that he is only 20 years old! His level of professionalism and his technique are way beyond his years. That was a truly inspiring performance.” -Nataly Ruan, Freshman “Everything about him was absolutely amazing. He is so young which has inspired me to never give up on my dreams. The different colors in tone were absolutely beautiful and his double tonguing was so clear and phenomenal. If he made a mistake, up I could not tell at all! His memorization was breathtaking.” -Leslie Corona, Freshman “After listening to him play three pieces I have spent time with myself, I was completely blown away by the ease that he played them. His releases were remarkable and the quality of pianos and fortes were the mark of a true artist! I thoroughly enjoyed his interpretation and performance!” -Shannon Peterson, Senior “Everything about his performance was so inspiring and it was truly such a great recital. His tone was flawless and his articulation was even more so. The fact that he is so young made all of it so much more amazing and I am so proud to say that I had the chance to witness the playing of such a great artist!” -Erin Walton, Freshman “The concert was much more than just playing flute! He has clearly thrown all of himself into his art. The mood of each piece was depicted aurally and visually as he let the emotions of the music show in his performance.” -Taylor Hennig, Senior “I was in awe the skill that was displayed to me! This man has clearly dedicated a countless amount of hours to becoming an astounding musician, and it definitely showed in the performance that I witnessed. His double tonguing was phenomenal, his memorization...

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Jean-Louis Beaumadier: Album Review

Posted by on Oct 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, October 2017, Reviews | 0 comments

Jean-Louis Beaumadier: Album Review

If you wake up in a sad mood, I suggest you put on Jean-Louis Beaumadier’s new CD, Sweet Dream,a joyous album which as Jean Louis says, “demonstrates the lighter side of the piccolo’s character.” The album is part of Beaumadier’s ongoing piccolo repertoire project, and Sweet Dreams is World Piccolo, volume 3. The collection includes works by these composers from throughout the world: Camarguo Guarnieri, Mike Mower, Jean Michel Damase, Gordon Jacob, Veronique Poltz, Flint Juventino Beppe, William Bardwell, Eugene Magalif, Raymond Gulot, and Malik Mezzadri. Beaumadier is a brilliant player, who has brought piccolo playing to a new level of attention and artistry through his many recordings and commissioning of new work. He plays with a beautiful sound, perfect pitch and crystal clear rhythm, always with a joyous infectious energy!! He has some wonderful guest players on the CD including Carla Rees and Gergely Itzes on Alto flute, Magik Malik on flute/ voice, Vincent Beer Demander on Mandoline, Peter Verhoyen on piccolo, Mathier Schaefer on xylophone and Jordi Torrent on piano. They are all expert players who add to the virtuosity of the album. For example, I loved Peter Verhoyen in the humorous piccolo duet with piano by Eugene Magalif and Jordi Torrent’s incredible ensemble playing throughout the album. The final work on the album is Malik Mezzadri’s, Naomi which shows a different side to the piccolo, utilizing flute and flute singing, done expertly by Magik Malik. It’s an abstract atonal work that reminds us that the piccolo had great versatility and that Beaumadier is a master of it all!! You can purchase the album on his website. --Barbara...

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Suzanne Teng: Album Review

Posted by on Oct 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, October 2017, Reviews | 0 comments

Suzanne Teng: Album Review

Right now, we all need more meditation, healing, and peace, and Suzanne Teng/Mystic Journey's new album, "Kingdom of Mountains," provides music that evokes all of those elements.   I have always been a fan of Teng's music, as she is a master of countless world flutes, and "Kingdom of Mountains" is an excellent followup to her last album, "Mystic Journey."  Mystic Journey is now the name of the collective of musicians including Teng, her husband and co-writer, Gilbert Levy (world strings, percussions, synths), Dann M. Torres (guitar, oud, electric sitar), and Jon Ossman (bass and dilruba). "Kingdom of Mountains" is a blend of all styles of world music and flutes, and the ambient tracks behind the world instruments give it a feeling of peacefulness and thought.  This album has more rhythms, grooves, and instruments than her previous, which give the music more textures and layers.  Standout tracks are "Kingdom of Mountains," a 7 minute track, as I like the longer length in tracks, especially in meditation music.  "Delicate Rainbow Flower" is pure beauty, and the instruments blend together harmoniously.  When I close my eyes and listen to "Yunnan," I get transported to China.  Much of Teng's music can take you to different worlds if you just clear your thoughts and listen.  ...

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Carlos Escribá Cano: Album Review

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, Reviews, September 2017 | 0 comments

Carlos Escribá Cano: Album Review

Flutist, composer, arranger, and music producer, Carlos Cano Escribá plays with a grenadilla wooden flute from Verne Q. Powell Flutes.  Born in Havana in 1971, he completed his studies at the National School of Music. Mr. Escribá is a former member of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, with which he performed on the most important stages of Spain.  He continuously collaborates with orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of Madrid and the Symphonic Orchestra of the Gran Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona. His last work, Canciones y Palabras, along with pianist Hernán Milla and Cuban poet Aldo J. Méndez, was nominated for a Latin Grammy as best album for children.  Escribá is currently flute professor at the Marcos Redondo Professional Music Conservatory in Ciudad Real, Spain. Por La Rivera de Paquito, the new album from flutist Carlos Escribá Cano and pianist Hernán Milla, is a delightful collection of Paquito De Rivera's iconic Cuban music, which is thoughtfully arranged by Cano and Milla for flute, piano, and a variety of accompanying instruments.  When you think of De Rivera's sound, flute does not generally come to mind, as his music was primarily played and written for clarinet and saxophone.  Cano's interpretation and playing was authentic, honest, and virtuosic, showcasing his talents as a flutist, orchestrator, and arranger.  The legendary De Rivera is featured on the opening and closing tracks of the album, adding an even extra layer of counterpoint and harmony. The album begins with Con Chucho Corriente Abajo (Variations on Chucho Valdes' Mambo Influenciado).  This piece is a fun mambo and fugue; parts of it are reminiscent of Claude Bolling's Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano, altering between jazzy and classical.  Next is Aires Tropicales, in four short movements (Contradanza, Habanera, Vals Venezolano, Afro).  This relatively unknown wind quintet by Rivera, arranged for flute and piano, was played with a freshness and crispness, accentuating the solid collaboration between Cano and Milla. Cano brings out the alto flute in the Dizzy Gillespie standard, A Night in Tunisia, and adds doublebass and percussion to another excellent arrangement.  His alto flute tone is rich and smooth, and his solos soar with virtuosity through the piece.  As Cano is mostly a classical and orchestral player, I was quite impressed to hear his jazz chops which rival those of most jazz flutists.  De Rivera's The Cape Cod Files, originally for clarinet and piano, start with the first movement (Lecuonerías) as a long cadenza of solo flute, the second (Benny @100) adding piano, third (Bandoneón) adding the bandoneón accordian as a tribute to Astor Piazzola with a lovely improvised bandoneón part from Claudio Constantini, and ending with Chiquita Blues, which is a jaunty and rhythmic finale to the piece.  The last 3 short pieces on the album (La Fleur de Cayenne, Invitacion al Danzon, Brussels in the Rain) round out this exciting album of music that is rarely played and heard by flutists, and Carlos Cano Escribá/Hernán Milla bring their outstanding teamwork and knowledge of De Rivera's music and style into every piece.  Brussels in the Rain created a whimsical Parisian atmopshere and was a stand out track on the album.   Por La Rivera de Paquito, which means "for the river of Paquito," is an album that flows like a river from song to song.  ...

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Galway Flute Festival: The Guest Artists

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in August 2017, Concert Reviews, Featured, Issues, Reviews | 0 comments

Galway Flute Festival: The Guest Artists

  The Guest Artists of the Galway Flute Festival gave incredible masterclasses and concerts and came from all over the world. We asked them about their experiences at the festival, their flute stories, and advice they would offer to young students.      Kersten McCall Artist in Residence Philipp Jundt Switzerland/Korea Nicola Mazzanti Italy Irina Stachinskaya Russia Juliette Hurel France Stephen Clark Scotland Barbara Kortmann Germany Ernesto Fernandez USA Andrea Griminelli Italy and of course, Sir James Galway Thank you for everything!   THANK YOU from The Flute View...

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Bill McBirnie: Album Review

Posted by on Jul 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, July 2017, Reviews | 0 comments

Bill McBirnie: Album Review

Bill McBirnie & Bruce Jones, Grains of Sand Bill McBirnie’s new collaboration album with Bruce Jones is a wonderful melding of creativity! Jones, the composer on these tracks plays guitar, percussion and synths as well as the vocals and McBirnie is on flute, alto flute and piccolo as well as co-composing on tracks 3,5,9 and 11. The music is diverse as Jones, though brought up in Brazil, combines many other influences into his output including, rock, hip hop and new age, as well as improvisation. Bill describes their way of working together like this: “A project of this nature—involving just the two of us—takes considerable time to complete and so it inevitably proceeds in stages. Each track starts with Bruce writing, playing and recording whatever idea he has in mind. After Bruce has laid down what is a fairly complete track, we then overlay any flute melodies he has in mind. In addition, we conjure up shots and harmony parts and overdub these. After that, we go back and I improvise over the entire track. Finally, we take whatever we have (…which is typically too much…) edit it and mix it down. Of course, we “subtract” far more than we “add” as the process unfolds until sooner or later (…usually later…) we find what we’re after.” I love this description of perfect collaboration and it shows in the album. The melodies and tunes are excellent and the flute(s) improv’s are original, brilliant and exciting. The layering of the alto, flute and piccolo are seamless and the Bruce’s vocals add the perfect addition contrast. Bill is a virtuoso player, with a beautiful expressive sound and masterful fingers! When I listen to this album I feel very happy!!! www.extremeflute.com extremeflute@look.ca -Barbara Siesel...

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Rozalind MacPhail: Album Review

Posted by on Jul 1, 2017 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, July 2017, Reviews | 0 comments

Rozalind MacPhail: Album Review

Rozalind MacPhail grew up in Canada on a small group of islands nestled in the harbour of Toronto, Ontario called Toronto Island. She has lived in many parts of Canada but it was the artistically vibrant city of St. John’s, Newfoundland that stole her heart. Following years of classical music performance training at the Etobicoke School of the Arts,  University of Toronto and University of Ottawa, she has pursued her interest in a wide range of musical genres, while performing as guest flutist with other artists, including Yo La Tengo, Lou Barlow, Constantines, Great Lake Swimmers, Elliott Brood and Pick a Piper. Rozalind MacPhail recently won MusicNL's Female Artist of the Year and an East Coast Music Award for Electronic Recording of the Year.   “It can be so unsettling when we are forced to let go of loved ones, get rid of bad habits, deal with painful memories or change unhealthy life patterns. We hope this music will help you cope with life’s unexpected moments. May it ease you into the present moment, help you feel grounded and capable of facing any challenge that comes your way." Rozalind MacPhail Rozalind continues, "The parts were actually recorded to the sunrise each day for the entire month of February and I kept my first take of all the flute parts. It was inspired by the death of famous Newfoundland stained glass artist, Graham Howcroft who was my friend and roommate.  Kim Henninger and Shawn Parke of Portland, Oregon (film composers of EMBERS and LUCKY) created the electronics so it was a collaborative effort.  Stephen Vardy is a yoga and meditation instructor at Moksha Yoga in St. John's."   "Sunset Sunrise" music is for connecting to our higher selves, for rising above daily concerns, to open into the space of Love. The CD opens with sustained electronic sounds and a guided meditation by Stephen Vardy. The second track begins with sustained electronic sounds which provide a nice foundation for the soaring and sparing flute lines. When the bansuri flute finally enters, it is as if one can actually see the sun rising. This is a long, 25 minute track, perfect for a morning meditation. The third track entitled, Sunset, features another bed of electronic sounds and light tabla sounds actually captured on the flute! and overtone sounds for 25 minutes making this the consummate meditation CD, one track perfectly tailored for the morning and the other one for the evening. The album liner notes suggest the following:   Get yourself comfortable and take a moment to relax, rejuvenate and release your day! We hope this music will help you cope with life’s unexpected moments. May it ease you into the present moment, help you feel grounded and capable of facing any challenge that comes your way.   MacPhail says, “There is a great need in our world right now to find ways of tapping into our inner peace while being in the midst of so much uncertainty.” Rozalind MacPhail certainly has created a beautifully serene way to invoke meditation. Perfect for daily meditations, this digital album, "Sunset Sunrise",  is a perfect companion to any meditation routine.  Rozalind MacPhail is a fountain of creativity, a plethora of surprises and colors. -Viviana Guzman Listen to Rozalind MacPhail's Bandcamp link...

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