Reviews

Paula Robison Caprice Album Review

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in CD Reviews, Featured, November 2016 | 0 comments

Paula Robison Caprice Album Review

Paula Robison's latest CD, Caprice, is a brilliant mix new and standard works for flute and piano.  The album is called "Caprice" in honor of Thierry Lancino's sublime Cinq Caprices which "are adapted for flute and piano especially for this recording" as stated in the liner notes.  In addition, the album features the works of Claude Debussy, Olivier Messiaen,  and Pierre Boulez.  The songs by Claude Debussy were transcribed for flute and piano by Paula Robison.  The pianist is the brilliant Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen. The album commences with the quintessential flute work, Afternoon of a Faun by Claude Debussy, arranged for flute and piano by Paula Robison and Paavali Jumppanen.  Robison's ethereal sound provides a graceful beginning to the album.  Jumppanen's exquisite playing provides the perfect collaborator for the album. Pierre Boulez' Sonatine is next on the album.  The Robison-Jumppanen Duo execute this enigmatic work with earnest passion and mystery. In the Quatre Melodies by Claude Debussy we hear the Duo's lyrical warmth and romantic zest.  Robinson's tone is rich with fervor and utmost elegance.  Jumppanen's sultry sound and Robison's poetic musicality provide superb performance of these voluptuous works.     Thierry Lancino's Cinq Caprices are exquisitely both fragile and powerful.  Robison and Jumppanen cast an unearthly sheen on these provocative and delightful works. Olivier Messiaen's Le Merle Noir is splendidly performed by the Robison-Jumppanen Duo.  Robison's Le Merle Noir is thrilling.  From the first notes, Robison and Jumppanen weave an especially ravishing landscape, concocting an enchanting spell. Paula Robison's recording of Claude Debussy's Syrinx and divinely satisfying.  In this particular track, the flute is mic-ed differently than the rest of the album, leaving us with a bewitching interpretation of this iconic work for flute.  Robison makes the flute resonate with a captivating luster, painting Syrinx as both sensual and whimsical. In Claude Debussy's Le vent dans la plaine from Preludes Book 1, Jumppanen's expert technique performs with majesty and power. The final piece on the album, La Flute de Pan by Claude Debussy, the Robison-Jumppanen Duo end the CD with incredible tasteful beauty. Caprice by Paula Robison and Paavali Jumppanen, is an album that is sure to become a favorite in every flute lover's collection. --Viviana Guzman, The Flute View...

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French Flute Convention Review by Fluterscooter

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in Concert Reviews, Featured, November 2016 | 0 comments

French Flute Convention Review by Fluterscooter

The French Flute Convention happens only once every four years, so when it happens, it is quite a show.  I don’t usually do European shows, but French bakeries!   This year’s convention, themed “Flute Spirit,” featured flute legends Maxence Larrieu, Patrick Gallois, Pierre Yves-Artaud, and Philippe Bernold, as well as many of today’s leading flutists such as Jasmine Choi and Julien Beaudiment.    Did I mention I met Yubeen Kim?     As an exhibitor, it is always difficult to get to concerts, and this convention was no different.  The exhibit hall was bustling all 4 days, and I was very pleased with all the Fluterscooter bag booth traffic, especially the great feedback for the new “French Bag” that I designed for Julien Beaudiment.  For me, it is always interesting to see what flutists in different countries like to wear.  I was fortunate enough to catch the closing concert, which featured a full sized flute orchestra from Japan, conducted by Philippe Bernold. Has anyone ever seen the Japanese flute orchestras?  #flutefashion to the extreme!  They wore an array of pastel evening gowns and sparkly jewelry that made them shine on stage. I wish every flute orchestra could be that aesthetically pleasing.     They performed the European premiere of Yuko Uebayashi’s Les trois bouquets pour l’orchestre de flutes, which was a lovely three movement piece with nods to Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe. Then, fittingly, performed an arrangement of Daphnis, with the solo played exquisitely by Ikuko Sunamori.  Lastly, Maxence Larrieu was the soloist for Mozart’s G Major Flute Concerto. This is particularly interesting, because I wasn’t sure how the full orchestra score could be realized by only flutes, but they pulled it off effortlessly. I was quite impressed with the power and intonation of the low flutes.  It is always a treat to hear a legend like Msr. Larrieu, and Philippe Bernold commanded the podium with grace.  I look forward to the next convention in 4...

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Sarah Jane Hargis Saving the Queen Album Review

Posted by on Nov 1, 2016 in CD Reviews, Featured, November 2016 | 0 comments

Sarah Jane Hargis Saving the Queen Album Review

Sarah Jane Hargis has always interested me as a flutist ever since I saw her perform with pedals at the Las Vegas NFA Convention and at this past year’s NFA where she performed original compositions, both solo and with flutist Melissa Keeling, so I was very excited when I received her newest album Saving the Queen. The album cover first caught my eye, where the “Rockstar Flutist” is wearing a gas mask and pearls.    The gas mask represents Hargis’ struggle with becoming severely ill from black mold, while having to abandon all possessions as well as her home, and start over again. Almost all the music on this album was written during that time. Hargis explains: “the name of the album is Saving the Queen because it was really my music that I think saved me and what had me pull through these dark times in my life.” The album is ethereal and mystical upon first listen. With the first two tracks being arrangements of familiar pieces Syrinx and "Sarabande" from Bach’s Partita, I wanted to listen a few times to hear all the nuances of each pedal, each overtone, each frequency, and processed sound. I was happy to hear something different every time! "Cyan Motion" is an original track that I loved hearing live at NFA, but with the excellent mixing of this album, I could hear many more electronics. In this uptempo piece, she multi-tracks and loops, creating beautiful and intricate harmonies and sounds.      The fourth track, "Bellow," has the listener entering an enchanted forest. The pitch bends and emptiness where the wind is the only sound conjures up many images of trees dancing, wind blowing, and nature.  At points, Hargis’ flute sounds like an echoing electric guitar. "Indigo Waters" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Hargis’ Kentucky background shines through in this track about the coal miners of her state. The original piece starts off sparse and then leads into a dance. Hargis does pitch bends like a champion, and her use of pedals accentuate them even more. The sixth track, "Meditation," is another favorite. This track is something I’d love to hear in a yoga class or an ayahuasca ceremony. The steady electronic drone is haunting and the flute line is evocative. The flute in this piece is not as processed as the former pieces, but it doesn’t need to be. The beautiful, simple lines are enough to put you in a state of bliss. The only bad thing about this piece is that it ends so soon! (I, personally, could listen to this type of music for hours) The last segment of Saving the Queen starts with the lively "Pistachio." Its jaunty and syncopated rhythms put you back into a groove after waking from the "Meditation." Hargis’ cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is hopeful and nostalgic, and I think of the story behind the album when listening to this poignant track of pure solo flute. This track has the least processing so it offers the chance to listen to Hargis’ beautiful sound. "Meditation II" finishes the album by putting the listener in one last trance like state, which in my opinion, is a great way to finish an album. Saving the Queen is very well mixed, arranged, and played, and the Rockstar Flutist is a composer/flutist to look out for! --Fluterscooter...

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Ned McGowan The Art of the Contrabass Flute Album Review

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in CD Reviews, Featured, October 2016 | 0 comments

Ned McGowan The Art of the Contrabass Flute Album Review

Composer and flutist Ned McGowan has a new CD for contrabass flute!! It’s an amazing album of original, virtuosic works by this talented and noted composer. Many of you may have heard some of his music this August at the most recent NFA conference, so you know what I mean.  McGowan is a virtuoso of the contrabass flute having written the first concerto for contrabass flute and orchestra, premiered with the American Composer’s Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 2008 (how did I miss this concert????). Each piece on this album conveys McGowan’s interest in rhythmic complexity, and the intersection of European art music, Indian Carnatic music, popular forms, and the avant garde. He employs extended techniques to exceptionally expand the range of the contrabass, and the expert layering of multiple tracks creates a unique sound world.  In Earthly Chants I, McGowan begins with a wall of sound reminiscent of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring– the image that comes to mind is primordial ooze with the sound of the flute rising from the harmonic ground. Benson Town for contrabass flute and Mridangam (an ancient percussion instrument from India used in Carnatic music) has a rock influenced rhythm with the flute and drum in an elaborate rhythmic dance. Winter's Breath for contrabass flute and piano is a more traditional piece with lovely, singing melodic lines. In Earthly Chants II, I checked to see if my floor was vibrating! Deep sounds well up, and I could hear some echoes (homage) to Varese’s Density 21.5.     Wurelguik for flute and electronics has beautifully layered sounds and repeated patterns which eventually speed up into a virtuosic display of articulation with electronic overlays and sound expansion.  I appreciated McGowan’s sparing and logical use of electronic sounds. Earthly Chants III, subtitled “Don’t Forget Everyday, Your Funky Prayers to Say,” brings us back to the opening sounds, expanding to deep sea and whale sounds and eventually into a swinging, joyous dancing rhythm. I enjoyed this album, from the virtuosity and beautiful sounds to the humor and complexity, it makes me want to play the contrabass flute! --Barbara Siesel...

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Elisabeth Möst Accento Austria Album Review

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in CD Reviews, Featured, October 2016 | 0 comments

Elisabeth Möst Accento Austria Album Review

Accento Austria (Gramola 99100) Elisabeth Möst, flute, Maroje Brčić, guitar   Flutist Elisabeth Möst and guitarist Maroje Brčić have presented a lovely collection of works that span nineteenth- and twentieth-century Austria. While the majority of the works on this album were written in the twentieth-century, two were written by composers whose lives span the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries.   Five Miniatures – Cesar Bresgen I. Ruhig II. Fließend III. Gehend IV. Wiegend. Rascher V. Gehende Viertel Grand Duo concertant in A major/A-Dur, op. 85 – Mauro Giuliani I. Allegro moderato II. Andante molto sostenuto III. Scherzo: Vivace IV. Allegretto espressivo Scherzo Capriccioso from/aus “Drei Stücke” – Alfred Uhl Sonata semplice, op. 18 – Jan Truhlář I. Allegretto con umore II. Andante III. Allegro scherzoso Serenade in D major/D-Dur, op. 19 – Leonardo von/de Call I. Adagio. Allegro II. Adagio III. Menuetto. Trio IV. Rondo When the listener also considers the various influences surrounding the composition of these works--which include World War II, a highly vocal bel canto style, and socialist realism to name a few--the result is a variety of styles that can be heard in the assorted works on this recording.     The partnership between Möst and Brčić is particularly well-balanced. Möst’s tone is sonorous, and her phrasing is tasteful and carefully done. Overall, this is an excellent recording of works for flute and guitar that are slightly off the beaten path.  --Tammy Evans Yonce...

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Quintessenz Incantations Album Review

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in CD Reviews, Featured, October 2016 | 0 comments

Quintessenz Incantations Album Review

The stellar flute quintet Quintessenz has released a new album Incantations with works by some of our favorite composers: Rossini, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Doppler, Clarke, Marais, and Saint-Saens. The flutists of Quintessenz are all members of important German orchestras including the Leipzig Gewandhaus and the MDR Symphony Orchestra and are soloists in their own right. This makes for a virtuoso combination of gorgeous playing!    On this album they include excellent arrangements (by Gudrun Hinze, their piccolo player) of familiar flute works by Doppler and Marias as well as favorite orchestral pieces by Mendelssohn, Saint-Saens, and Debussy in addition to some new works by Anze Rozman and Ian Clarke.  I especially liked their arrangement of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with its amazing ensemble, perfect interpretation, and for those of you practicing the Scherzo, a primer on how to play that difficult excerpt by five experts!     I loved Anna Garzuly-Wahlgren’s interpretation of the opening movement of Doppler’s Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise, especially her addition of some traditional Hungarian ornaments as well as Gudrun Hinze’s sparkling piccolo. The bass and alto flute playing by Christian Sprenger (bass) and Bettine Keyßer (alto) were beautiful throughout--especially in the Marias as they added insight and harmonic complexity to the most interesting arrangement. Ute Gunther plays the Schnarrkopf Flute (buzzing headjoint) as the devil in the clever arrangement of Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre, a sound I’ve never heard before. It sent me to google to see what the buzzing head joint is… without a lot of luck!  Throughout the album, principal flutist Anna Garzuly-Wahlgren plays with beautiful sound, style, and charm.  This is a very well presented album as the liner notes by Gudrun Hinze are very informative and the English translation by Aaron Epstein is very clear. The booklet is well designed and the engineering is perfect. I hope they enter this album in the Grammy’s as it is well deserving of recognition for every element of the CD. --Barbara Siesel...

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Mithril Duo Bottom of the Punch Bowl Album Review

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in CD Reviews, Featured, October 2016 | 0 comments

Mithril Duo Bottom of the Punch Bowl Album Review

Principal Flutist of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra and Professor of Flute at the University of South Alabama Dr. Andra Bohnet is half of the Mithril Duo. Her partner on the Mithril Duo's seventh album release, Bottom of the Punch Bowl, is violinist Tom Morley.  From the liner notes: "The album is an intoxicating mix of musical spirits from Ireland, Scotland and the Shetland Islands, the Isle of Man and Sweden, played on flutes, whistles, Celtic harp, Scottish smallpipes, fiddle, guitar and the Swedish nyckelharpa." From the first moment of listening to the CD, one is instantly transported into other realms. This hauntingly beautiful CD features the 1700s “Celtic Baroque” works of Turlough O’Carolan, Neil Gow, and James Oswald. Each track features different instrumentation, and each track is a gem of it’s own. Bohnet weaves her flute magic, capturing each nuance with grace and sensitivity. Her partner, Tom Morley, provides luminous and tender counterparts. Together, they weave delicately fluid sonorities that are simply treasures to the ears.     The track “O’Carolan’s Favorite Jig” is sweet with its simplicity. This lilting melody is beautifully performed by the Mithril Duo. First, we hear Bohnet’s sultry flute on the melody followed by Morley’s engaging violin making this a buoyant and graceful rendering of this jig from start to finish. Get ready for some toe tapping fun with the Outlander Set: Loch Lomond/Comin’ Thro’ the Rye/Clean Pease Strae/The High Road to Linton. The Mithril Duo commences with haunting, slightly melancholic melodies which progressively get more rhythmic, and then launch into a powerful, energetic, and jovial reel that whirls into euphoric heights; a delightfully exquisite interpretation by the Mithril Duo.     Another cheerful favorite is "Spootiskerry" in which both Bohnet and Morley take turns playing the cheerful melody, making it a delightful rendition of this radiant and jovial tune. If you want to bring joy and heartfelt cheer into your day, run, don’t walk to purchase this album! --Viviana Guzman...

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NFA Highlights by Viviana Guzman

Posted by on Sep 1, 2016 in Articles, Concert Reviews, Featured, September 2016 | 0 comments

NFA Highlights by Viviana Guzman

NFA Overview Usually all of us at The Flute View Magazine write a little summary of the various concerts we attend at the National Flute Association Convention.  This year, Fluterscooter and I were the only ones able to go to NFA in San Diego, and since she was kept busy in her Fluterscooter booth, I was the only one who was able to listen to some concerts. Please keep in mind that this is only a very small sampling of what was available in the program book. I was working as the NFA Public Relations Chair, so I had certain duties to fulfill and I had to go in and out of various performances, so I was unable to attend complete performances.     Following are some highlight performances: Thursday Afternoon Concert A Thursday afternoon delight was listening to ZAWA’s splendid concert with Jill Felber, Claudia Anderson and Dianne Frazer followed by Amy Porter’s spectacular performance of the Prokofiev Sonata with pianist Katie Leung…. exquisitely executed…. MEMORIZED!  Listen to a clip from The Flute View Instagram feed here.  What a terrific way to start off the convention. Friday Afternoon Tribute to Katherine Hoover  Denis Bouriakov’s performance of “Spirit Flight” by Katherine Hoover was sublime, delicate and profound, appropriately reflecting the piece’s title. Zara Lawler spun her unique saga on “Serenade from Canyon Echoes” by Katherine Hoover with Dustin Donahue (vibraphone and marimba) and Barbie Diewald (choreographer).  Bringing movement into her selection, Lawler’s interpretation of Hoover’s work was creative, original and innovative, transporting the work into new interpretive heights.  Lawler was a delight to witness. Another thrilling collaboration, was “The Word in Flower” by Katherine Hoover performed by Bonita Boyd,  (flute), Anna Belaya, (soprano), Daniel Nistico (guitar).  Listening to the contrasting sonorities of each movement was like tasting the varying courses within a meal.  Boyd’s thoughtful luminosity rang together gracefully with Belaya’s robust and resonant voice while Nistico’s guitar provided a resonant bed for the ethereal singing lines.     “Dream Dances” for piano solo by Katherine Hoover performed by Dianne Frazer was the perfect palette cleanser of the recital, brilliantly executed with Frazer’s technical prowess and solitary flair. Another visionary favorite was “Kokopelli” by Katherine Hoover as performed by Laurel Zucker.  Choosing to perform the work, from the audience rather than from the stage, Zucker brought a haunting sheen to this popular work.  Technically brilliant and with a ravishing sound, Zucker placed her bewitching stamp on this alluring and favored solo work for flute. Finishing off this remarkable concert, was Denis Bouriakov and Dianne Frazer performing “Mountain and Mesa” by Katherine Hoover.  Spinning their enchanting collaboration, Bouriakov and Frazer performed a spellbinding rendition of this most entrancing and lesser known gem. Listen to short performance clips that I posted from the NFA Instagram feed here.     Friday Night GALA The Friday Night Gala commenced with Handel’s Sonata in E Minor, Fantasy on Benyovzky by Pfeiffer and Romanian Folk Dances by Bartok as performed by the brilliant Hungarian flutist, Gergely Ittzes (flute) and the always excellent Margaret McDonald (piano) The Chaconne by Bach and Fantaisie-Impromptu by Chopin are very known works of the violin and piano world respectively.  Denis Bouriakov (flute) and Margaret McDonald (piano) performed these works with dazzling, majestic and breathtaking ease.  Bouriakov’s arrangements of these jewels, are sure to...

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Green Golly with the Firelands Symphony by Rachel Hacker

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in Concert Reviews, Featured, July 2016 | 0 comments

Green Golly with the Firelands Symphony by Rachel Hacker

On a bright morning in June, I set out to Sandusky, Ohio to to take part in the Fireland Symphony's presentation of my fellow Flute View staffer's performance of Green Golly & Her Golden Flute (I was delighted to play flute in the choir). Little did I know that I would witness a rare gem in the mine of “Flutrepreneurship.” Barbara Siesel and her husband Keith Torgan, are the creators of this exciting blend of literature, drama, and music written to create new audiences for classical music. “Green Golly and Her Golden Flute” is the story of a girl in a tower with very long hair and a flute. Donning whimsically designed costumes (a perfect match for their stage personas) Barbara flutes her way to glory as Green Golly while Keith becomes all the other characters. The performance lasts roughly 45 minutes, and audiences of all ages are entertained by the couple’s stage antics.   The curtain goes up on the storyteller singing a whimsical, original song, which informs us that Rapunzel was not the only long haired girl in a tower -- there were many, many others: "Ethel was put in a tower by mommy And Missy Matilda by weird Uncle Tommy Big Beverly climbed up there all by himself And poor little Lila -- was trapped by an elf" Keith is the composer and lyricist of all the original music in Green Golly. His lyrics incite laughter from even the most difficult of children. One of my favorite lines by Keith in the opening song is: “His eyes were the color of boogers.” Sprinkled throughout the plot are excerpts from some of the most recognized works in the classical music canon. Barbara’s graceful tone and crisp articulation soars across audiences. Just like a recipe for brownies that includes black beans, or macaroni and cheese with pureed squash, the Green Golly Project is able to incorporate “ mental nutrition” into the fun story line. Kids are given an unfair reputation for not appreciating classical music, but audiences are captivated by Barbara’s command of the stage through her flute playing. Works such as Francis Borne’s Carmen Fantasy, or Chopin’s Minute Waltz, are sure to grab the attention of even the most distracted of children.   Any young “Flutrepreneur” should take note of how Green Golly has evolved into a business venture. “Green Golly” is far more than just a live performance, it's a brand. Through the hard work and imagination of its creators the story has become an award winning CD, a book, a flute and a curriculum. Green Golly & Her Golden Flute appeals to a wide range of venues, including libraries, schools, performing arts centers and orchestral outreach programs. These venues are large enough to supply funds necessary for each performance. The Firelands Symphony, located in the Sandusky, OH, area, has been able to fund The Green Golly project for several performances in the northern Ohio area. I became acquainted with Jody Chaffee, the Director of Educational Outreach in Sandusky. Below is Jody’s statement, involving the story of how Green Golly came to Sandusky: As the education outreach director for the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, I had the wonderful opportunity to bring the Green Golly Project to 9 elementary schools in the Sandusky area of Ohio. We first...

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Ransom Wilson Album Review

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in CD Reviews, Featured, July 2016 | 0 comments

Ransom Wilson Album Review

Flutist and conductor Ransom Wilson has a new CD of flute music by two wonderful French composers Jean Michel Damase (1928-2013) and Jean Françaix (1912-1997).  As a young student, Ransom Wilson heard the music of Jean Françaix and was enchanted--so much so, that he transcribed the Finale of Françaix’s Concertino for Piano and Orchestra for flute, cello and piano. He subsequently wrote to the composer for permission to play it! Wilson heard the music of Jean Michel Damase in the same year and was equally enchanted, so when he spent a year in Paris studying with Jean Pierre Rampal, Rampal introduced him to his old friend Damase, and a great friendship began. The first half of the album is music by Damase; it’s an especially valuable recording because the composer is at the piano and it’s his last recording as a pianist. In his introduction to the album, Wilson says about Damase: “ What a character!  He was teaching at the Paris Conservatory, but was famous as a ‘bon vivant’ and wicked ‘racontour'... He loved to have small gatherings of friends featuring his own cocktail invention: a deadly mixture of cognac, fresh lemon juice, and sugar!!” (sigh from this writer...) Scherzo for flute and piano (1957) is a lively, joyous work and, Trio for flute, oboe and piano (1962)--with the celebrated oboist Jacques Tys--is elegant and played with perfect ensemble. Quatour for flute, oboe, clarinet, and piano has marvelous writing for winds--it’s romantic, flowing, humorous, and all fits together with amazing intricacy. Damase’s music has an insouciance and charm that is filled with joy and is wonderful to hear.     The second half of the album is devoted to the music of Jean Françaix.  Wilson tells us that Françaix was "dismayed by the direction 20th century music had taken and saw himself as a quiet revolutionary. His goal in his music was to charm, and occasionally move the listener and above all to make us laugh at life and its pretensions” Suite for solo flute (1962) by Françaix is a set of six miniatures: all dances, with a unique French twist. Wilson plays precisely in the character of each piece and so in alignment with the composer’s intention that one ceases to be aware of his technique--it's perfectly there to serve the music. Wilson is accompanied by the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble in Françaix’s Divertimento for flute and chamber orchestra (1974). They accompany Wilson with taste and elegance, in sync with Wilson’s perfect intonation, vibrato, and tone. Listen for the amazing "Perpetuum mobile" (track 20)--it’ll send you to the practice room! This new recording is a beautiful tribute to French music and French wind playing in general. Wilson’s playing reflects the essence of French flute style, and it’s a great way to begin to understand the beauty and depth of 20th century style and writing for flute. It’s gorgeous!!   --Barbara Siesel...

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