Reviews

Jamie Baum: Album Review

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, June 2018, Reviews | 2 comments

Jamie Baum: Album Review

Bridges- Jamie Baum Septet+   Jazz flutist, composer and leader Jamie Baum has released her new CD Bridges.  Bridges became the focus of her 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship application (and subsequent award) while Jamie was researching the connections between Jewish music (her earliest influences) and Arabic, Middle Eastern and South Asian music. As Jamie says “this music represents a bridge highlighting the similarities found in diverse religious musical traditions that connects us… Bridges feels more compelling and relevant today then I could have anticipated.”   I’m so excited by the concept and realization of these ideas and Baum really makes a compelling, creative and musical case for these connections.   Her Septet+ features these virtuosic musicians from diverse backgrounds: Amir Saffar, trumpet and voice, Sam Sadigursky, alto sax, bass clarinet, Chris Komer, french horn, Brad Shepik, guitar, John Escreet, piano, Zack Lober, bass, singing bowl, Jeff Hirshfield, drums and special guests, Jamey Haddad, percussion and Navin Chettri, percussion, voice, trumpets. Here are the tracks: From the Well- based on a scale common to Maqam, Jewish and South Asian music. Song Without Words (for S. James Baum) written for the passing of Jamie’s father and based on Kol Nidre which is the ancient melody played at the beginning of Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement). There Are No Words- expressing how there are no words in the face of loss. Honoring Nepal: The Shiva Suite – commissioned by the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in NYC, and written to highlight and pay tribute to the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Using Shiva the Hindu deity who is the “destroyer of evil and the transformer” as the inspiration for the suite. Part 1 – The Earthquake Part 2 -  Renewal Part 3 – Contemplation Joyful Lament, based on a melody by Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn Mantra, based on Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, sung for healing, rejuvenation and nurturance. Ucross Me- about crossing boundaries. As you read and listen to the track titles you begin to understand the thoughts, story and hope that Baum is telling us through these complex compositions, which combine improvisatory jazz, Hindu, Arabic, Jewish, Classical and Minimalist forms into a beautiful whole! Throughout the album the playing is stellar, the ensemble is perfect and each artist contributes exquisitely to the musical message of the album. Produced by Jamie Baum and Richie Beirach – Lynnjam Music www.JamieBaum.com   --Barbara...

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Alice K. Dade: Album Review

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, June 2018, Reviews | 0 comments

Alice K. Dade: Album Review

Alice K. Dade is the Assistant Professor of Flute at the University of Missouri, and is on the Artist Faculty of Flutes by the Sea, MOZAIC Festival and the PRIZM International Chamber Festival.   Living Music / Alice K. Dade This is Alice K. Dade's first solo album, and it is a bold move into contemporary classical chamber music.  The selection of new works is diverse, united by Dade’s precise and animated playing.  Recorded at Skywalker Studios, the nuances of the pieces can be heard as she delicately brings out the pastoral feeling generated through the uplifting sounds of “Air”, String Quartet Version, by Aaron Kernis and “Skipping Stones” by Michael Fine.  Dade’s flute soars elegantly, with impeccable intonation and her liquid, brilliant sound.  She is accompanied by a first-class cast which includes violinists Scott Yoo and Erik Arvinder; violist Maurycy Banaszek, cellist Jonah Kim, and double bassist Susan Cahill. The E Sonata for flute and keyboard in E minor Op. 40 by Noam Elkies, is reminiscent of Bach’s E Minor Sonata for flute and piano.  It begins with a contemplative movement featuring some unexpected high register flourishes, rising and falling as the accompanying piano, with the composer at the keyboard,  he seems to keep the mood in the earthly realm, evocative of the title “Eheu,” or “alas,” possibly as in “Alas, the fleeting years slip by” a quotation from Horace. But you don’t need to know that to feel the sense of urgency communicated by the almost burning interjections by Dade, played with decisive authority.  The second, two-minute nineteen second movement of the sonata,  “Mediation” brings the mood back up for Air for a moment before changing course halfway through via some abrupt “thoughts” that are symbolized by a short, interjections from Dade, then solo piano briefly seeming to tumble back to Earth.  The final movement, “Evoe!” is jazzy and fun, with a piano underlay and playful, dancing flute playing. Dade and Elkies play with expressive grace and power. Jennifer Margaret Barker’s impressive, 'Na Tri Peathraichean’ means 'The Three Sisters... of Glencoe,' in Scottish Gaelic, and each piece is meant to evoke one of the three mountains in the title.  Dade captures perfectly the feeling of wild mountain places,  her runs and escalating lines, performed with precision and passion as if they were waterfalls or running stags.  Pianist, John Novacek, compliments Dade beautifully throughout the work.   The second moment, commences with Dade mirroring a flowing river.  Piano and flute sinuously entwine, providing a vivid landscape of colors and textures.  The third movement begins with the majestic introduction by Novacek.  Dade and Novacek are both regal and sensitive, beautifully capturing Baker’s richly evocative music. Dan Coleman’s “Pavanes and Symmetries,” was arranged for flute and piano by Benjamin Loeb.  This piece allows Dade and Novacek to weave a their innate sensibilities with warm lyricism,  and to showcase their immaculate virtuosity. In all, this is a great collection of diverse pieces united by Alice K. Dade’s confident performances.  She presents an splendid cornucopia sampling of American composers, and is accompanied by a deluxe  roster of impressive musicians. --Viviana Guzman...

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Amy Porter: Album Review

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, June 2018, Reviews | 0 comments

Amy Porter: Album Review

Michael Daugherty / Trail of Tears featuring Amy Porter (NAXOS) This ambitious album featuring the works of Michael Daugherty with flutist, Amy Porter, percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie and tuba player, Carol Jantsch, with the Albany Symphony and conducted by David Alan Miller, is said to be meant to explore “the relationships between machines, humanity and nature.” The album starts off with Amy Porter using her signature velvet sound, on the first track, “Trail of Tears.” Porter’s flute does seem to cry mournfully at certain points in the first movement, “where the wind blew free,” in defiance or defeat in contrast to the dramatic thundering of percussion by the symphony, but also on occasion to float or tiptoe among the other instruments as if seeking a way out, appropriate to the title, and joining in triumph with them before striking out again alone.  Interludes of simple, soothing solo flute, played with a sultry tone, give way to more urgent and insistent passages, then alternating with bursts of doom-sounding from the horns and strings; the flute seeming to join with the symphony only to fall back to opposition.  Porter wails and soars with her impeccable sonority and brilliance. The second movement of the piece, “incantation,” is given a spiritual and emotional life evocative of a Native American incantation, at times sorrowful or mysterious, at times joyous. Porter creates these images deftly with her evocative playing and exquisite sound. The final movement, “sun dance” features rapid-fire playing from Porter matched to the racing tempo, and again, veers off with the piece in different emotional directions, slowing down only to come roaring back full speed.  Amy Porter’s outstanding musicianship weaves a luminous trail of power, magnificence and flair. Porter delivers a commanding showcase of her talents in bringing "Trail of Fears" to life.  As to the works for tuba and percussion, we leave you to explore them as a great bonus when you check out this breathtaking album. --Viviana Guzman...

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Catherine Ramirez: Album Review

Posted by on May 2, 2018 in CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, May 2018, Reviews | 0 comments

Catherine Ramirez: Album Review

Catherine Ramirez - Shelter from the Storm, Albany Records TROY1701 Catherine Ramirez, currently artist-in-residence at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, presents this album “as a bridge toward empathy, compassion, and even understanding” for negative feelings of fear or frustration. She has assembled an album of solo flute works from a variety of stylistic eras that tie into her theme of artists working through feelings of anguish, sadness, burden, and frustration. The fact that each of these works is for solo flute allows Ramirez to fully showcase her lovely sound. Her highly-polished technique serves her well and results in musically convincing interpretations. My favorite track on this album is the transcription by Kazuo Tokito of the Chaconne from J.S. Bach’s Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004. Ramirez’s interpretation is beautiful, wellpaced, and thoughtful. Ramirez writes, “Believed to have been written after the death of his wife Maria Barbara, Bach seems to have worked through his grief in the writing of the Chaconne. In my interpretation … the music traverses the entire range of emotions and mental states:  sadness, tenderness, questioning, forced optimism.” This range is clearly presented in Ramirez’s convincing performance; it is a strong ending to an album full of well-presented, sensitively-performed works. Air - Toru Takemitsu Sonata “Appassionata” in F-Sharp Minor for Flute Alone, Op. 140 - Sigfried Karg-Elert Cinq Incantations for Solo Flute - André Jolivet Pour acceuillir les négociateurs, et que l’entrevue soit pacifique Pour que l’enfant qui va naître soit un fils Pour que la moisson soit riche qui naîtra des sillons que le laboureur trace Pour une communion sereine de l’être avec le monde Aux funérailles du chef, pour obtenir la protection de son âme Violin Partita in D Minor, BWV 1004 - J.S. Bach, trans. Kazuo Tokito --Tammy Evans...

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Nicole Esposito: Concert Review

Posted by on May 2, 2018 in Concert Reviews, Featured, Issues, May 2018, Reviews | 0 comments

Nicole Esposito: Concert Review

As the Flute Professor at the University of Iowa, the artistic and personal success of my students is always my first priority.  However, I find it also extremely important and do my best to set the best professional standard for them and I work hard to maintain my own playing at the highest level.  Professors are tasked with many things other than teaching and particularly the spring semester is heavy on both student and faculty committee work. It would be quite easy to let my performing ambitions fall by the wayside, however each semester I aim to learn a new recital program to perform at the university.  I try to learn completely new pieces that I have not previously performed as I do not want to rely on the comforts of playing overly familiar repertoire.  Often they may be pieces I have loved for a long time and have not had the chance to program, but I also try to perform new compositions, written in the 21st century.  The Sonata for Flute and Piano by Mel Bonis was perhaps the most standard piece on the program that I just have not had the chance to play until now.  I recently heard the quite substantial Sonata by Max Meyer-Olbersleben and thought it would be both a challenge and reward to perform.  The Sonata for Flute and Piano by Mario Pilati I have also wanted to play since I heard it a few years ago and it fit nicely on this program.  The Rire de Saraï by Connesson is a brilliant piece which was suggested to me by French flutist Julien Beaudiment.  I feel that it is definitely a piece that suits me well, with it's hauntingly lyrical lines and fiery rhythmic drive.  --Nicole Esposito, flute professor, University of Iowa. On April 4, at the University of Iowa, I had the pleasure of listening to an entire program of flute music that I had never heard before.  While it looked like it was only 4 pieces, these works contained many movements, often with no time to breathe, however flutist Nicole Esposito pulled it off with flying colors.  Her always expressive tone shimmered through each of these relatively unknown gems for flute and piano, and pianist Aydin Arslan was equally proficient on the technically demanding piano accompaniment. The recital started off with Mel(anie) Bonis (1858-1937) Sonata, which was the most frequently played piece on the program.  Next was the Mario Pilati (1903-1938) Sonata.  I enjoyed hearing the influences of Debussy and Respighi in this beautiful watercolor of a piece.  While flutists wish we had more Romantic repertoire, Max Meyer-Olbersleben  (1850-1927) composed a sonata for flute and piano that fits right into the violin and piano dominated Romantic period.  Lastly, Rire de Sarai by Guillaume Connesson (b. 1970), was a piece that I think should be played much more!  It was fun, lyrical, technical, and rhythmic, all of which elements were all perfectly executed in Esposito's playing.  ...

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Concert Review: Gonjiam Flute Festival (Hurel, Koyama, Wiese)

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in April 2018, Concert Reviews, Featured, Issues, Reviews | 0 comments

Concert Review: Gonjiam Flute Festival (Hurel, Koyama, Wiese)

The evening concert on February 21, 2018, at the Gonjiam Festival was enchanting. Juliette Hurel opened the performance with Takemitsu’s haunting, “Voice” followed by “Afternoon of a Faun." Hurel’s exquisitely voluptuous tone provided a beautiful landscape for the the flowing melodies, transporting the audience into the mythical world as painted in Debussy’s deft imagination.  Her evocative musicality and nimble fingers gave the Ropartz Sonate an electrifying finish to her portion of the program.       Yuki Koyama presented a Leclair's Sonata in E minor with grace and elegance, followed by Taffanel’s Fantasy on “Der Freischultz." Koyama’s impressive technique and ravishing sound left the audience dazzled by his performance.  A very impressive performance by Japanese flutist, Yuki Koyama.      Henrik Wiese played the Schubert Variations “Trockene Blumen” with exceptional sensitivity and with a dynamic spectrum of colors.  Wiese’s phrases were both gossamer delicate, as well as raging with power; each line placed with careful, and thoughtful insight.  Wiese presented the Prokofiev Sonata with a completely different palette, transforming with each movement, leaving the audience in suspense, and with a hunger for more.  Henrik Wiese is a consummate musician whose breathtaking colors, thrilling technique, and thorough musical analysis, make for a magnificent performer. --Viviana...

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Anne-Katherine Heinzmann: Album Review

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in April 2018, CD Reviews, Featured, Issues, Reviews | 0 comments

Anne-Katherine Heinzmann: Album Review

Degenerate Flute Music Rediscovered Anne-Katherine Heinzmann, Flute and Thomas Hoppe, Piano A few years ago Anne-Katherine Heinzmann released a CD of “Suppressed Music” – music by composers who were persecuted and/or murdered by the National Socialists (Nazi’s) because of their religion or family origin, who as Jews, Heinzmann said “contributed decisively to the sophistication and welfare of Europe.” Although none of these composers were French, their styles were highly influenced by French Modernism, jazz and neo classicism of various types. Heinzmann is a brilliant flutist, performing and teaching throughout the world. She is professor of flute at the University of Music, Nuremberg, leads numerous master classes, and has performed with leading chamber musicians and soloists internationally, including Leonard Hokanson, Miriam Fried, with the BBC Proms, at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, and as Deputy Solo Flutist at the Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra. Her playing is exquisite and she performs each work on the CD with perfect understanding, style, gorgeous tone, and with beautiful, musical coordination with her excellent pianist Thomas Hoppe. Included on the CD are the Erwin Schulhoff Sonata, Leo Smit Sonata, Hans Gal Drei Intermezzi, Gunter Raphael Sonata, and Alexandre Tansman Sonatine.  All of these works are a welcome addition to the flute repertoire, and I was glad to hear the Tansman, Gal, and Raphael for the first time. Tansman, Raphael and Gal all survived the war in exile, while we sadly lost Schulhoff and Smit. All the works reflect a tonal 20th century style and are each engaging and well crafted. Of the pieces I didn’t know beforehand (and you may not know either), I love the Tansman for its cheerfulness and the Raphael for its structural and harmonic complexity. These are wonderful pieces to add to our repertoire, and they benefited from the virtuosity and insight of Anne-Katherine’s playing! The CD is available on Audite and was nominated for the “Preis der Deursche Schallplattenkritik.” www.AnneKatherineHeinzmann   --Barbara...

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Demarre McGill plays Kevin Puts Concerto: Concert Review

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in April 2018, Concert Reviews, Featured, Issues, Reviews | 0 comments

Demarre McGill plays Kevin Puts Concerto: Concert Review

Shortly after returning from East Asia, I heard Demarre McGill perform Kevin Puts' Flute Concerto (2013) at Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony. McGill is Principal flute of the Seattle Symphony and acting assistant professor at CCM. He has performed as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, and Buffalo Philharmonic, and received an Avery Fisher career grant. I loved this performance. McGill gave a beautiful, refined rendition, full of delightful surprises, with complete understanding of the composers ideas, most especially in the 2nd and 3rd movement. In the 2nd, which Puts says, “was written during a period in which I was rather obsessed with the second movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.467.”  Puts quotes themes of the piece fully and piecemeal in the movement and McGill helped us feel the humor in the choice! In the 3rd movement, I loved the way McGill had an energetic conversation with the winds, brass and percussion, exposing the terrific timbre that was created between the instruments. The orchestra is made up of young, very accomplished players between the ages of 12 and 22, and they played extremely well, with energy as well as great sound and interpretation, led by their excellent young conductor, Michael Repper for whom they played enthusiastically. The large audience gave Demarre a resounding ovation for his beautiful, stellar performance. --Barbara...

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Zara Lawler and The Flute on its Feet: Concert Review

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 in Concert Reviews, Featured, February 2018, Issues, Reviews | 0 comments

Zara Lawler and The Flute on its Feet: Concert Review

On Sunday December 3rd, interdisciplinary flutist extraordinaire Zara Lawler welcomed us to her workshop/concert presented by the NY Flute Club at Mannes College's Glass Box performance space in NYC. Lawler’s mission is to explore and celebrate the interconnectedness of life and human experience through her performances that integrate music, dance, theater, and storytelling. She offered this workshop/concert as a way to reveal the craft behind her style and to bring us into the process along the way. The concert introduced us to a new work in progress by composer Jessica Meyer, to Fadoul and Lawler’s Dust Jacket, based on the blurbs inside flaps of books and their hilarious take on modern consumer culture as well as collaborative works with choreographer Neil Parsons – TimeFrame, and Berio’s Sequenza and Fantasies take on Telemann Fantasia’s. The performances were amazing- opening us up to new ideas, and stretching our conception of classical and new music performance; they are virtuosic and they also make us laugh. Often flute concerts have a vaguely repetitious feeling...I mean, how many times can we hear the same repertoire over and over?—(a lot I’m guessing). But, in “The Flute on its Feet,” Lawler shows us another approach to standard repertoire and new music, one that expands the possibilities of performance and communication if we are willing to try. And so, in the workshop section of the event, we got to try too. We paired off with our neighbors and experienced the trust needed to lean into each other (and then play the flute), and we created riffs based on physical movements- like Zara does in a number of pieces. We were asked to stretch ourselves a bit beyond our comfort zones, and for some it was a challenging but also fun request! As always, Zara played beautifully, even as she moved strenuously. It was a virtuosic and inspiring performance in so many ways.  If you have a chance, try and see her soon. The Flute on its Feet with Zara Lawler   A workshop/concert featuring: Zara Lawler, flute Paul Fadoul, percussion Jessica Meyer, composer Choreography by Neil Parsons and Melissa Riker www.zaralawler.com --Barbara...

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Jocelyn Aubrun: Album Review

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 in CD Reviews, Featured, February 2018, Issues, Reviews | 0 comments

Jocelyn Aubrun: Album Review

1943 Works for Flute and Piano, Jocelyn Aubrun flute, and Aline Piboule piano. While WWII was raging, people were fighting and scattering throughout the world, composers were still writing beautiful works for flute and piano. This album features works by five composers, two major repertoire pieces, and three lesser known works all written in 1943. They are exquisitely played by Jocelyn Aubrun and his excellent partner Aline Piboule. Aubrun has been principal flutist with the Orchestre National de Lyon since 2006 and has had many concerto and chamber music performances worldwide. He plays with a beautiful, focused tone, outstanding accuracy, perfect articulation, and a clear love of the music he is performing. Aubrun is a lovely player, musical, and a perfect accompanist. Even the Piboule is an accomplished soloist herself. They are a unified team, perfectly matched in style and interpretation. The major repertoire works on the album are the Prokofiev Sonata and the Dutilleux Sonatine, and the lesser known works are Sonata da Camera by Marius Flothuis (1914-2001), Sonatine by Claude Arrieu (1903-1990), and Sonata by Leo Smit (1900-1943). All three of these pieces would make an excellent addition to our standard repertoire; they are idiomatic and mostly reflect the influence of 20th century French style, whether Milhaud and Honegger, or in early genre of electroacoustic music with Musique Concrete. I especially enjoyed the Sonata by Leo Smit, whose life was cut short when he died at Sobibor Camp in 1943 (shortly after finishing this Sonata). Give a listen to this well curated and very thought- provoking album. Available on Artalinna Label www.jocelynaubrun.fr --Barbara...

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