French Flute Chamber Music
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The five composers on this disc share the clarity and refinement, brio and wit, and subtle sensuality that permeate French music in the early years of the twentieth century. Each found in literature, the visual arts and the music of Debussy and Ravel
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Though the music exists in that same sound world, subtle differences in the personalities of the composers emerge. Francaix is playful, Roussel muscular, and Schmitt nostalgic and a bit sentimental. Marcel Tournier's Suite, Op. 34 is a special treat. I knew, and enjoyed, the piece from a Hanssler Classic CD with the Linos Harp Quintet, but the Mirage Quintet give the work a forward momentum and depth that really makes it stand out. You can get a feel for this from the Mirage Quintet's YouTube video of the 3rd Movement (Lied: Assez Lent, Avec Melancolie) filmed during the CD recording in Toronto in 2007. [...]
This recording took place under the watchful eyes and ears of the great team of Bonnie Silver & Norbert Kraft, who between them share producer, engineer, and editor functions. Kraft, by the way, is the very same guitarist who completely nailed the Villa-Lobos guitar music for Naxos in 2000. The sound on the new disc is predictably excellent, though some might argue that Robert Aitken's flute is too forward in the mix. It's hard to see how this music could be played or presented any better.
A longer version of this review is at The Villa-Lobos Magazine - [...]
The notion of 'french' things, whether they be pictorial or architectural and especially musical, should relate directly to the Dance, e.g. the pointillism might be the leading voice of a string, or be explained through an ornament under a parapet, or perhaps be a brush-stroke that goes somewhere, and not nowhere (as so much of Turner goes)
Delicateness is paramount, and such figurines will, or rather, should, invoke a particular sound from the instruments.
Unfortunately, in this record, all sounds go straight the the bowels ; I belch, and cannot tell whether I am reticular or simply un-particular.