Flute Vox – CD Review

Artist/s:  Laura Chislett (flute); Stephanie McCallum (piano); Thomas Jones (violin)

Category:  Classical, New Music

Label:   ABC Classics

Reviewed by Karen Anne Lonsdale

 

Flute Vox is a compilation of concert works for flute, alto flute, bass flute and piccolo, featuring Laura Chislett, one of Australia’s foremost interpreters of contemporary flute music.  The Latin word ‘vox’ means ‘voice’ and Laura Chislett named the CD Flute Vox flute-vox“because the project ‘gives voice’ to the flute, showcasing its versatility and expressive potential” in addition to her interest in “the sounds created by simultaneous singing and playing on the flute”. The title also reflects Chislett’s acknowledgement of two works which are included on the CD:  Vox Box for amplified bass flute by Australian composer Mark Zadro, as well as Voice for solo flute by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu.   The range of repertoire on the two CDs spans several decades from Edgard Varèse’s Density 21.5 (1936; revised 1946) to Michael Smetanin’s Backbone: for solo flute and multi-tracked fixed media sound (2015).  

The CD set features flute pieces by numerous prominent Australian composers including Julian Yu, Michael Smetanin, Katia Tiutiunnik, Mark Zadro, Brett Dean, Rosalind Page, Elena Kats-Chernin.  The compilation also includes a solo piano work, Four Episodes for Piano (2010) by Gerald Glynn performed by the distinguished Australian pianist Stephanie McCallum.

Chislett demonstrates her excellent command of a range of extended flute techniques in Toru Takemitsu’s Voice for solo flute (1971), Mark Zadro’s Vox Box for amplified bass flute (2001), Rosalind Page’s Courbe dominante (2006) for flute with pre-recorded sound, and Brett Dean’s Demons for solo flute (2004).  The technical agility and bird-like characteristics of the flute, have inspired other works in this compilation, including English composer Edward Cowie in his A Charm of Australian Finches for flute and piano (1993), as well as Julian Yu’s Sonata for Flute and Piano (2004).

Contrasting the technical feats required in these works is the exquisite lyricism heard in the Persian Suite (2002) for flute and piano by composer Reza Vali.   The suite is the twelfth set of Persian folk songs written by Vali who was born in Persia (Iran), and is now based in the USA.

Chislett plays with warmth and expressivity in the hauntingly beautiful melodies in Blue Silence (2006) by Elena Kats-Chernin and The Quickening: A Tribute to Jonathon Kramer for flute and piano (2005) by Katia Tiutiunnik.  Chislett is joined by her husband, violinist Thomas Jones in a soulful performance of Kats-Chernin’s Wedding Suite (1996) for flute and violin, which was composed for the couple’s wedding day.

Flute enthusiasts are sure to enjoy this eclectic selection of concert pieces, as well as the superb playing by all of the artists on Flute Vox.

Karen Anne Lonsdale

7 May 2016

 

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Sally Walker – An Interview

Elena Kats-Chernin’s new flute concerto Night and Now is the result of a long friendship and collaboration with flautist Sally Walker. Sally will be premiering the concerto on Saturday 24 October with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Wood.

Angus McPherson spoke to Sally Walker. (Excerpts from Elena Kats-Chernin’s program note for Night and Now are in italics.)

 

When did you know Elena was writing you a concerto?

The idea of writing me a concerto stemmed naturally from our many other collaborations; it had been talked about for some years but crystallised once Elena was awarded the Australia Council Fellowship in late 2014, which also meant a confirmation of a timeline of events. She then began writing furiously and by January played me her idea for the first movement (on piano, from which she composes).

Photo: Steven Goodbee Publicity.

Sally & elena

How did the collaboration between you and Elena work?

Our collaboration process is very easy. It always begins with a lot of talking and a lot of laughing in a session at her place around the piano – trying things out. As we are both very itinerant, we are emailing mostly thereafter, with occasional phone calls. If we are in the same city at the same time, of course we try to meet, but the contact is very constant in the written form. Sometimes I will send her a sound file (like yesterday, so she could hear the recording of the first tutti rehearsal).

Sally often hears sketches of my work as I’m writing them and she has great insight into my processes. When Sally and I began to think about what a major work for flute and orchestra would sound like, we discussed all of these qualities and how to showcase the flute as a solo instrument and emphasise its unique sound and capabilities. Sally’s sound is full bodied. It isn’t a little flute which flies away – it has earth. That is Sally…how she is, very earthy and elf‐like at the same time. That’s what flute is, the way Sally plays it.

We began with talking about what the piece should be. I said that I would like a work of depth and seriousness, which has beautiful melodies and embodies her knowledge of unusual harmonies. I especially wanted some darkness (so many flute concertos have the ‘brilliante’ aspect of the flute, but I think our low register is very stirring). In 2006, Elena wrote her flute and piano version of Blue Silence for me and it became my favourite of all her works. She needed some persuading that the slowness of the music was convincing; she is more comfortable writing very busy music. When it was broadcast by the ABC on a show called For Matthew and Others, she received enormous praise for this contemplative work. I had wanted that work to be a starting point for the concerto. Consequently, the concerto starts on a low E, in a minor key and very slowly. “Night”.

The timbre and sonorities of the flute itself offer much variation to the composer. It can be brilliant, shrill and scurrying, or whispering and mellow. The flute can draw sharp or soft lines. It can be rich, or mystical, or virtuosic, penetrate a full sound or sigh into the texture.

I wanted her somehow to document her childhood in Russia, with all its extremes, its suffering and its wonder.

It is a Concerto in three movements and takes aspects of the Russian personality and character as its starting point, as well as aspects of the flute itself. It draws very much on my own experiences as a child of that world, both aurally and from day to day life. Until I was 17, that was everything that I knew. One of my overriding memories of childhood in Russia is of lining up for hours and hours for one loaf of bread or piece of cheese, and the perseverance and sometimes ultimate disappointment that had to be faced when food just ran out.

 

Being familiar with Elena and her music, did you have any preconceptions about the piece? Were there any surprises?

I was delighted to hear a reference to J.S. Bach in the fugue-ish second movement. I half-jokingly suggested a ‘Latigo’ (an Argentine Tango technique) in the second movement and then I saw she put it in the score! – both for violin (which is typical) and then for piccolo (not typical, but effective).

 

What has been the most challenging thing about preparing Night and Now?

That I premiere this in three days and we are still making changes. I love to play from memory, but I think that may be a little too risky!

 

How would you describe the overall sound of the work?

Colourful, from the foreboding to the sublime. It is a transformation, really, from the darkest of darks to exuberant triumph (with abundant percussion). A Lament, a Fugue and a Tarantella.

Sally also suggested to me that I might use stories from my early years in Russia, or from my own life as a template to the overall design of the composition. And so I did. The first movement is based on two imagined Russian fairy tales; one taking place deep in the woods – always a place of foreboding and unease (for this writer), but also promise and adventure and transformation. The other is in a silvery castle, impressively elaborate and bejewelled. Two very different “nights”.

 

What is your favourite moment in the music?

The first, certainly. For its intensity and colour. Low register flute, low strings and Tubular bells is an eerie, other-worldly sound.

 

Are there different challenges when preparing and performing a work written for you by a friend?

Somehow it feels like a higher responsibility, even though I have been integrally involved in the whole writing process. You want everybody to be happy with the final result. Luckily I love the piece – imagine where would it leave a friendship if someone writes you a concerto and you don’t like it!

 

How do you see this work fitting into the wider canon of flute concertos?

It is perhaps more focussed upon melody than virtuosity (although there are a couple of awkward acrobatic moments). We had specifically wanted a piece that many people could enjoy playing, so its level of technical difficulty is not as high as other concertos. Also, we discussed the idea of making the concerto for multiple flutes, but I thought that would limit how many people would play it and so it is for C flute only.

Although it is an ‘Australian Flute Concerto’, it is very much bound with Elena’s cultural background as a Russian Jew, so there are elements of Russian music certainly, hints of Klezmer and, of course, Bach.

 

Are there any plans for further tours?

It will be performed with the Zelman Symphony, conducted by Mark Shiell, in Melbourne on December fifth, with the Newcastle Youth Orchestra in September next year and the Queensland Youth Symphony the year after. Some overseas orchestras have approached us too; it would be really special to take this work to different countries.

 

UPDATE Monday 2 November 2015

ALL of the team at FTA extend our most heartfelt congratulations to both Elena and Sally and of course the Darwin Symphony Orchestra on an incredibly successful world premier of “Night and Now” which received a standing ovation!

Please find below some stunning photos of the World Premier courtesy of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra

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Media Release – ELENA KATS-CHERNIN’s Flute Concerto Night and Now

After a fortuitous conversation with flautist Sally Walker, a Coogee bank teller introduced her to his mum.

15 years later his mum has written a concerto for her talented and dear friend.

ELENA KATS-CHERNIN’s Flute Concerto Night and Now

WORLD PREMIERE Darwin Symphony, 24 October 2015

MELBOURNE PREMIERE Zelman Symphony, 5 December 2015

15 years ago a conversation with a bank teller in Coogee led flautist Sally Walker to a fortuitous and solid friendship with Elena Kats-Chernin, one of Australia’s most celebrated composers. She was the bank teller’s mum!

The latest chapter in their relationship is the premiere with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra of Night and Now, a flute concerto Elena has written specially for her. 

Attempting to resolve a problem with receiving her bank statements in Germany (where she was then resident), Sally visited branches in Bondi and Coogee over two days. Coincidentally, in each branch, she was served by the same ‘handsome young man’.

On the second day, they chatted and realized they’d both lived in Hannover. Sally explained that she was a musician, and studied and worked there.  

“My mum is a musician too, a composer,” said the bank teller. “She writes ‘acid-funk-new age’. Her name is Elena Kats-Chernin.”

Sally recalls: “This made me smile. She is incredible, but I’m not sure I’d call her work acid-funk-new age. I had heard “Clocks” and loved it, so was familiar with her captivating and imaginative musical language. I was promoting Australian Music in my chamber concerts in Germany and so was very keen to know if she had written anything for flute. I left a note with him for her asking this and my number. Meeting her son twice seemed serendipitous.”

She adds these co-incidences have become regular occurrences: “Last week when we met for dinner, we had exactly the same burgundy wooden necklace on – one neither of us wear often and neither of us knew the other one had. These slightly eerie things have repeatedly happened to us.”

Elena called Sally and the pair met up, clicking immediately. Despite living on separate continents a bond was formed, further cemented when Sally returned to Australia to live. It was the beginning of a long and strong relationship, connecting personally and professionally.

“What is really funny is that I normally don’t call people,” says Elena. “That’s not the way it usually works. I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, but more that I believe in chance. I like to leave things to chance. But the way I came to meet with Sally was just meant to be.”

Over the 15-year period, Elena and Sally have both enjoyed great successes and their respective careers have flourished. Sally has toured and recorded with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, was Principal Flute of the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss and performed as Guest Principal Flute with the City of Birmingham Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and NDR Radio Philharmonie Hannover. After playing full-time with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra from 2003-2005, she returned to Australia in 2006 and is currently the Lecturer in Flute at the University of Newcastle and touring with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Elena’s star continues to rise and The Sydney Morning Herald says that “her status as one of this country’s most prolific and consistently innovative composers remains unchallenged”. Her work has been heard in the most intimate settings, through to the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. Her music for ballet, opera and the concert stage is performed all over the world.

So why the Darwin Symphony for the world premiere of Night and Now?

“I’d heard from a few sources about a superb new Chief Conductor at the Darwin Symphony,” says Sally. “Subsequently I was working with the group Halcyon on some really challenging contemporary music and was really impressed by the conductor, Matthew Wood. I heard him say something about travelling back to Darwin and I thought to myself, ‘it’s you!’”

During the project, Sally told him about the new work Elena was working on for her: “Matthew told me that the Darwin Symphony would love to premiere the work, and Elena and I thought it was an ideal fit. They present a number of works each year by Australian composers and we loved that commitment, especially from a community orchestra.”

“And the second performance will be in December in Melbourne by Zelman Symphony, with another inspiring conductor I met through Halcyon, Mark Shiell,” says Sally.

And what can we expect from the Night and Now concerto?

Click here to read more…..

 

 

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Alice Bennett – An Interview

Alice_Bennett

Melbourne-based flutist and sound artist Alice Bennett possesses a keen interest in contemporary Australian music and the low flutes, and has most recently developed a penchant for exploratory improvisation. After completing a Bachelor of Music with Honours at Monash University, Alice travelled to Austria for the Impuls 8th International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music 2013 where she studied contemporary flute techniques with Eva Furrer, and improvisation with Manon-Liu Winter and Frank Gratkowski.

Alice has had the privilege of premiering works by Houston Dunleavy, Peter Senchuk, Vaughan McAlley, Mitchell Mollison, and Katia Tiutiunnik, and has received funding from the Australia Council for the Arts. She is an active committee member of the Victorian Flute Guild, and performs with contemporary ensemble Faux Foe. Alice currently spends most of her time working on her Project 365, a challenge to complete and publicly release 365 original works during one year, and also enjoys cooking, drinking nice wine and hanging out with her pet rabbits.

Alice is a co-founder of Tilde New Music and Sound Art – a multi-platform project which aims to promote Australian art music, including but not limited to: improvisation, sound art, and works by people who aren’t dead yet. The first stage of this project was a mini festival held on Sunday 26th January at Testing Grounds, Melbourne. The festival featured performances of some of Melbourne’s most innovative sound artists and performers, and hosted the launch of the Tilde Roving Sound Art Gallery. www.tilde.net.au

 

HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE LOW FLUTES?

One morning in my first year of university I stumbled out of my dorm room having enjoyed way too much vino the night before, and seedily made my way to the weekly flute workshop. I waited with my classmates for a guest lecturer to appear. We had no idea who this person was or what they did. Little did I know that they were one of only a handful of low flutes specialists in the world, nor how lucky we all were to get our hands on a contrabass flute. One note and I was hooked.

 

AS AN ACTIVE PERFORMER AND IMPROVISOR, YOU HAVE JUST COMPLETED A MOST INTERESTING PROJECT TITLED 365.  TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS.

Throughout 2014 I took part in the WeeklyBeats Challenge (www.weeklybeats.com), where participants compose/record one piece of music per week for the duration of a year. I found the process so useful and inspiring that I attempted to do the same every day. Having a constant deadline and outcome (publicly releasing each track) gave me the motivation to experiment and work on my skills every day, and that includes improvising, using Ableton Live and other software, recording techniques and website management as well as playing. WeeklyBeats also gives you access to a community of peers who give weekly feedback and support.

 

YOU HAVE PERFORMED ON THE BASS FLUTE IN SEVERAL FLUTE CHAMBER ENSEMBLES? WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE, IN YOUR OPINION, OF THIS INSTRUMENTS SOUND WITHIN THE ENSEMBLE.

The bass flute adds two qualities to an ensemble: timbre and low-end support. The timbre of the bass is my personal favourite of the flute family; it can growl and grunt in the bottom register and is sweetest in the third. Its sound produces many more partials due to its wider bore, and it is almost as agile as a regular flute. It performs an invaluable role in the flute ensemble by filling out the lower end and supporting the lowest flutes that are not always loud or plentiful enough to counter-balance the top end.

 

WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION IN STARTING YOUR ANNUAL ‘TILDE NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL’ IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA? 

The festival was inspired by the European new music festivals such as Darmstadt in Germany and Impuls in Austria. Tilde aims to promote contemporary art music including improvisation, sound art and works by living composers. It also provides a rare opportunity for composers, performers and sound artists to get together and interact with a growing network of new music enthusiasts and to showcase their work in a relaxing outdoor environment. The 2015 Tilde New Music Festival will be held on Saturday 24th January at Testing Grounds in Southbank, Melbourne. www.tilde.net.au

 

WHOM ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE LOW FLUTE ARTISTS

Three of my favourites:

Matthias Zeigler, Switzerland – Matthias’ album Uakti demonstrates his experimentation in amplifying the microsounds produced by the contrabass flute, creating interesting and engaging electroacoustic works.

Eva Furrer, Austria – Eva is a fantastic flutist and performer who plays some of the most challenging works for bass flute in the contemporary European style.

Peter Sheridan, Australia – Peter has the deepest, most resonant sound of any low flutes player I have heard. He makes the instruments sing, defying any restraint that the sometimes-clumsy instruments have.

 

COULD YOU TELL US YOUR FAVOURITE WORK FOR THE LOW FLUTES?

I don’t have a single favourite, but the following are great works for low flutes:

Salvatore Sciarrino – Opera for Solo Flute/Bass Flute

Beat Furrer – Ira-Arca for bass flute and double bass

Vincent Giles – Differing Dialogues for bass flute and pre-recorded low flutes

 

WHAT DO YOU SEE (AND HEAR) FOR THE FUTURE OF LOW FLUTES?

With technical innovations making low flutes cheaper and more accessible to performers and students, these instruments are becoming more and more popular with both performers and composers. I see a lot of good music making in the future!

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Flute Essentials

CLAIM YOUR FREE COPY! – 24 hours ONLY

Friday 14 November 2014 New York Time

(available until 4pm Saturday 15th 2014 Sydney time)

To claim your copy follow this link (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/481225) and enter the coupon code NN84H to receive your free copy

Flute Essentials Cover

 

My name is Drew Niemeyer and I am a woodwind technician working at Blow Woodwind and Brass in Brisbane. I am writing a series of books containing information, not about playing the flute, but about the flute from a more technical standpoint.

I have noticed that many parents and even many teachers know very little about what to look for in a flute, i.e. what good and poor quality is, and what a flute needs in upkeep and care. Many teachers are allowing their students to buy instruments that are almost guaranteed to cause frustration and disillusionment. Some instruments are completely unfixable and it is sad to see so many people give up flute for a reason such as this.

From my bench as a repair technician I see the results of the choices people make. Damage is more often caused by neglect than recklessness, and I speak to clients every day about how to care for their instruments properly. Flutes made with low quality parts are often very expensive to fix properly, and the result for these people is an instrument that is not working as well as it should most of the time.

I wrote Flute Essentials because this problem is so wide spread.

This first book in the series is a very broad (but concise) outline of what people should be looking for in flutes, how to go about purchasing one, how to care for it, as well as some tips about getting the most from the instrument when you do begin to play. It will be especially good for parents looking to buy a first flute, and teachers may also find the book useful to encourage parents in their choices.

Taking up flute can be a big commitment. Flute Essentials delves into the necessity of obtaining a good quality flute for enjoyment, describes how this can be done, and explains how it is within the reach of almost anyone that desires to have it.

For more information contact Drew at Drew@fluteessentials.com or visit the website www.fluteessentials.com.

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About the Author: Drew has provided his services as a professional woodwind technician to musicians for over 20 years. His career has included teaching and performance, and has been highlighted by various prizes and awards. He is based at Blow Woodwind and Brass in Brisbane, Australia, and services clients throughout the Asia-Pacific Region.

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View the Flute Essentials Press Release here

For information on purchasing flute essentials and to view a preview of this book please visit  www.fluteessentials.com.

 

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates

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TRITONE BRASS & WOODWIND – A Short History

A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORKSHOP IN CANBERRA

AT TRITONE BRASS & WOODWIND 

AND THE OWNER DIRK ZEYLMANS VAN EMMICHIOVEN.

It all started in 1983 when I was in high school and my music teacher sent an aspiring young student to do work experience with a woodwind repair man called Don Archer for two weeks  It was to become a journey that has continued to the current day, 31 years later. The place seemed to appeal to someone who wanted to spend time with instruments in hand between the study and practice of a novice player, however it was quickly expressed that to pursue this craft it would be important to study music in depth as mastery of an instrument is key to understanding the functional and mechanical aspects of it through playing and feeling the results of a well set up instrument.  This resulted in my studying undergraduate music studies at the Victorian college or the arts in Melbourne (1989-1991) and postgraduate study at the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam (1992-94) and then the ANU school of music (1995-96)

By this time I had found (between study and teaching/playing gigs) an English gentleman named Geoff Speed. It was under him that I really began to develop skills in repair of wind instruments. This gave the basis that would lead to more than just repair and flowed on to making of flutes, head joints, high end padding techniques that are a must in todays flute world and my business.

Working with Geoff, I  covered all aspects of repair, dent work, key fitting and alignment, and re-padding as well as understanding the acoustic needs of the instrument, pad heights, pad thickness. It was an intense time of learning how the instrument functions as well as understanding the needs of the player and how different players respond to the setup of the flute. Geoff also encouraged me to travel to the USA and attend conferences, visit factories and makers, to seek knowledge.

This process never stopped and I am glad for his initial encouragement to keep thinking about the instrument I was working on and seek people who knew more about the subject. Every year or so I would take time from my workbench to seek to better the skills that had now given me a full time business and supported me.

I first registered my own business here in Canberra in 1996 and called it “tritone” brass and woodwind repair and flutes in Canberra were one of the biggest parts of the business and initially the instruments were student flutes and intermediate flutes.

Eventually high end flutes were coming into the shop, flues that required very special pads, materials that required different techniques to install and prepare for than the student Yamaha’s that were so central to the business.  My focus then shifted to concentrate on getting certified in these more specialised techniques, using pads that had the closest tolerances to 4 thousands of an inch, pads that were no longer soft felt type pads to the firm pads that would produce great results with the lightest technique. This means that the mechanics of the flute needed to run at the same tolerances. For this I started to visit makers, people like David Straubinger (who learned his craft from Bickford Brannen and developed the Straubinger pad),web002-1 Johnathan Landell (who learned is craft from Verne Powell) and Harry van Eckert who still makes flutes for Powell today. They all had their roots with one of the finest and oldest high end flute makers, Powell of Boston. This company took the louis lot design on in the late 1800’s to make really modern flutes, and then bought the Cooper system of tone hole placement to make a flute that had very good intonation.

This resulted in a great investment in education and tools and pads for the workshop, it transformed my understanding of the geometry of the flute, the dynamics of how the pads under the players fingers needed to feel and most importantly the understanding of the head joint, creating the sound wave (this is the place where the sound begins and its so important to the whole flute), how it behaves under different conditions and in the hands of different players.  These parameters now didn’t just include the setup of the pads but also things such as the fit of the head joint, the head cork and the spring action because the flute needs to operate as a whole and if one thing isn’t correct the entire instrument is affected.

Flutists are perhaps the most sensitive of all woodwind players at the high levels of playing.  Being able to work with them to achieve something that makes them feel like the instrument is really responding well and enables them to play easily across the entire range of the instrument is central to my craft.

web053-1By 2010 I had become a Straubinger technician and I had made my first sterling silver head joint and by 2013 I had made my first flute, a silver flute with open holes, low B, french pointed arms.

It took six weeks of hard work. Filing, making tubes for the body, head and foot joint. It was a challenge that required a type of patience that was new to me in order to really understand how the flute works, theory became reality and the end result was great.

 

Now it is 2014 and it’s my 31st year of instrument repair and my business ‘tritone” has existed for 18 years!

I am not surprised hat so much time has past as it really feels like it takes this long to understand totally what you are trying to achieve in this business.  Last year I became an agent for David Leviston’s shop ‘Flutes and Flutists‘ something I wish to continue into the future. Although selling flutes is part of the business I consider myself a flute specialist in repair and someone who has a great understanding of making flutes, not yet a great flute maker…..

My eight year old son is my apprentice, disassembling flutes and cleaning them, the place where I started. I hope he will travel this road along with me and continue after I finish.

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Dirk would be happy to answer questions from anyone interested in flute repair or anyone looking for a flute service in or near the ACT.  You can contact Dirk via his website at tritone.net.au

Please feel free to post a comment or ask questions regarding this topic below also

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates

 

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Giuliani to Tango. Sally Walker – flute, Giuseppe Zangari – guitar

ARGENTINE FIRE FOR FLUTE AND GUITAR

Concert review by Latham Horn

(The reviewer, Latham Horn, was the only flautist to successfully audition for Prof. Johanna Dömötör’s class at the Anton-Bruckner-Privatuniversität Linz, Austria, is also one of Sally Walker’s past flute students)

 

On a bright and warm last day of winter acclaimed duo Sally Walker and Giuseppe Zangari presented a lunchtime concert of Argentine, Australian and Italian music for flute and guitar in the delightfully intimate theatrette of the recently redeveloped Newcastle Museum. Both Walker – international prize winning flutist formerly of the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and the Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein and Zangari – Italian Government scholarship recipient and faculty of the Sydney Conservatorium are lectures at the University of Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.

There was no need for programs as the performers communicated wonderfully with the substantial audience giving brilliant insight into each of the presented works.  The first work performed was the Callejon by Argentine composer Maximo Diego Pujol whom Walker will meet personally during a tour of South America later in the year. The Callejon originally existed as a work for voice and guitar, here presented as the Australian premiere in a new arrangement for flute and guitar.

The second work was the first two movements of the Grand Duo Concertante by Mauro Giuliani – the composer who is also the current subject of guitarist Zangari’s fascination and Masters research.  The first movement’s challenging technical passages for both flutist and guitarist were presented here with both control and wit – but the true artistry was evident in the second movement.  Walker’s flute sang like a great Bel Canto soprano with a tone and legato so transparent and intimate yet full of colour with a wonderfully complementing accompaniment by Zangari.

Pujol’s Viene y Va  (Comes and Goes) was next on the program. The outer first and third movements were full of excitement, joy and fire – a perfect complement to the stunning beach sun of Newcastle’s iconic Nobby’s Beach one sees on approach to the concert venue.   The second movement, a melancholic aria, was performed with absolute artistry of colour, dynamics and sentiment.  The next work Suite Buenos Aires (also by Pujol) included an impressive introduction for solo guitar, displaying Zangari’s technical facility and command of extended techniques.

The last work of the program was by Australian composer and guitarist Philip Houghton.  From the Dreaming has become quite popular amongst flutists with frequent performances around Australia and internationally in numerous arrangements including for flute and orchestra; flute and string quartet and in its original here presented on flute and guitar. In an impressionistic style Houghton illustrates images and scenes of the Australian outback and wildlife, with movement names including ‘Cave Painting’, ‘Wild Flower’ and ‘Gecko’.

This was truly an inspired performance featuring musicianship and artistry of the highest calibre, leaving this listener completely musically satisfied and with goosebumps.  After two rounds of applause the audience got their wish of an encore in Cambereri’s Capricciosa, a light and fiery Tarantella in a minor key full of technical bravura and character.  Walker and Zangari will tour Sweden in early 2014 upon invitation from Swedish ensemble Haga Duo.

Please feel free to post a comment or ask questions regarding this topic.

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates

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The Fisenden Family – An Australian Flute journey

A Family Tradition continues in Melbourne: The Fisenden Family.

Flautists Neil and Rae-Helen Fisenden have shared a life of fluting and friendship for nearly 45 years and that includes 37 of them as husband and wife.

They first met at the tender age of 12 and 13 as members of the Perth Modern School’s Concert Band. Perth Modern was the first of Western Australia’s Government funded Scholarship Music Schools that began in 1967. Needing a piccolo player the Conductor of the band and esteemed flute teacher at the school, Owen Fisenden, seconded his son Neil to lead the rather inexperienced all female flute section. Neil readily agreed!

Owen Fisenden, originally from Melbourne and a student of Leslie Barklamb, was at the time the Principal Flautist of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra- a position he held for 28 years. He founded the W.A. Flute Society in 1972.  A dedicated and inspiring teacher his legacy lives on today in many of his students who have gone on to become professional players and teachers. Neil and Rae-Helen are part of that legacy and have both enjoyed careers as professional musicians. Neil as Principal Flautist of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and then following in his father’s footsteps as Principal of WASO: an orchestral career spanning 33 years. Rae-Helen followed an education pathway and apart from a rewarding career as a free-lance flautist, she is also a gifted singer and teacher of both acumens.

In 2006 Neil and Rae-Helen established Fisenden Music and have dedicated the past 7 years to teaching and to the establishment of the Fisenden Flute Ensemble- a group that has re-defined the Flute Choir as a feasible cutting edge professional ensemble committed to performing new and exciting repertoire written specifically for the group. The ensemble has garnered International acclaim and was invited to play at both the New York Flute Convention in 2009 and the Las Vegas Convention in 2012 as featured artists.

Both Neil and Rae-Helen are immensely proud of the achievements of the Fisenden Flute Ensemble for many reasons but one that stands out from a family perspective, is that the ensemble was named in honour of Neil’s father Owen (who died in 1984) and who inspired in both of them a love of the flute ensemble.

Apart from Neil and Rae-Helen, the ensembles’ fluting line-up includes their son Simon Fisenden and nephew Michael Howell. Indeed a family heritage.

Both Neil and Rae-Helen are very committed and experienced teachers and when asked to provide one sentence, which would help young flautists in their quest to improve, Neil responded: “ I use a quote from Vernon Hill actually. In every performance one needs to strive for absolute rhythmic security and complete musical conviction. That pretty much says it all. “ And Rae-Helen adds, “ One can never, never, ever underestimate the importance of thoughtful, slow practice.”

Neil and Rae-Helen move Fisenden Music to Melbourne in January 2014 to be closer to their sons Simon and Andrew Fisenden who are- surprise, surprise- both professional musicians!

 

Please feel free to post a comment or ask questions regarding this topic.

If you are interested in connecting with Neil and Rae-Helen please do so via the below contact details.  After their big move they will be living in the Chirnside Park area in Melbourne
Phone (Neil): 0414448550
Phone (Rae-Helen): 0404448555
Email: fisenden@iinet.net.au
Website: fisendenmusic.com.au

 

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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Press Release: Jane Rutter to Release New Album ‘French Kiss’

Media release

Monday, April 08, 2013                                                                                                            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jane Rutter to Release New Album ‘French Kiss’

A musical journey deep into the beauty, sensuality and passion of France

  

When Jane Rutter plays to an audience, not only is it beautiful flute playing, but also every person in the auditorium feels truly embraced.

 

Her flute declares itself in a sensual, passionate statement; her musical instrument becomes a fully expressive voice. And now, Australia’s foremost flautist and instrumental artist Jane Rutter, has captured the depth of sensuality on her new album French Kiss, through ABC Classics & Jazz.

French Kiss is Jane’s most exciting and important to date,  and she is looking forward to sharing with the Australian public just how much she has learnt from the French way of life.

 

French Kiss is about exploring innermost feelings. We all yearn for connection with other people, with nature, with beauty, with life. This album offers us the chance to make that connection through music – exquisite gems of French music that have become a treasured part of Jane’s own life in the course of her many years living in France and studying the uniquely French way of making music.

 

In a sneak-peek preview of her album notes, Jane reflects on this heady French blend of music and pleasure: “In the foggy, wine-dark night I long for connection, I long to taste life… In my head I am chanting a secret truth. We embrace. I am a river of butterflies. It’s an evening of a thousand beautiful things. From this launch pad of kisses, we share secrets in the silent storm. How we listen to each other in this slow burn of an extended kiss!”

 

Jane’s song choices take us deep into the heart of the French Romantic era and the Belle Époque – Debussy’s Romance, Massenet’s Meditation, Fauré’s Après un rêve (After a Dream) and Martini’s Plaisir d’amour (Love’s Pleasure). At the same time, she introduces us to hidden treasures like Rentar? Taki’s Moon over Ruined Castle and Claude Bolling’s Sentimentale, as well as classic tunes including Cole Porter’s So In Love and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s If I Loved You.

With such a superb selection of tracks, this is the most anticipated album yet, from this supremely gifted performer.

 

“The sound of the flute played in the French / Rampal style is like an elegant, generous kiss – a musical embrace that’s sensual in the same way that life is sensual,” says Jane. Be it with Baroque music, French salon music, Mozart concertos, virtuosic, contemporary, intellectually or technically challenging works, deeply emotional arias such as Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix or even the songs of Cole Porter or Aznavour, the style of piece doesn’t matter… In my musical (creative) life I seek to express connectivity – to have the voice of the flute speak, cross barriers, connecting listeners in a deep way.”

 

Jane is a household name in Australia who performs and tours extensively worldwide. She is one of the world’s leading exponents of the Rampal School of French flute playing. Renowned for her classical, multi-media and cabaret performances (even back in the days when no one contemplated such a craft!), Jane is also an acclaimed composer, poet and dramatist. She has appeared as guest soloist with many prominent artists and orchestras across many different styles, including Richard Bonynge, Christopher Hogwood, Michael Crawford, The Manhattan Transfer, David Helfgott, Slava Grigoryan and Simon Tedeschi.

 

 

The ‘Jane Rutter’ tour dates are:

17th April 12:30pm:

The Concourse, Chatswood:

Live at LunchFrench Kiss

http://www.theconcourse.com.au/event/concourse-lunch-hour-series

17th April 7pm for 8:30

Slide Darlinghurst

French Kiss  Album launch

http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=JANERUTT13&v=~SLD~

21-29 April: Hong Kong and China

15 May 12:30pm:

The Concourse, Chatswood

Live at Lunch Guest appearance with SImon Tedeschi Gershwin and Me.   http://www.theconcourse.com.au/event/concourse-lunch-hour-series

16-18 May: Noosa International Food and Wine Festival Concerto with orchestra performance and recital with sopranoTaryn Fiebig, pianist Guy Noble 

http://www.noosafoodandwine.com.au/session-120-sunset-concert-at-the-lookout-noosa-national-park-with-dinner-at-view-on-little-hastings/

 

19/20: Brisbane TBC

24/25th: Melbourne TBC

1-13 June:  French Kiss: An Australian in Paris WA tour Venues and dates TBC

19 June 12:30pm: The Concourse, Chatswood: Live at Lunch P.S. I Love You lunch hour recital with Taryn Fiebig http://www.theconcourse.com.au/event/concourse-lunch-hour-series

2-15th July : Paris, Uzes Venues and dates TBC

17th July 12:30pm: The Concourse, Chatswood: Live at Lunch Guest Appearance with Rick Price http://www.theconcourse.com.au/event/concourse-lunch-hour-series

2-6th  August: Brisbane Metropolitan.Venues and dates TBC

10th August: Quirrindi /NSW regional tour. Venues and dates TBC

21st August 12:30pm:The Concourse, Chatswood:: Live at Lunch Jane Rutter presents Cho Ki Wong, Tecchler Quartet Beethoven & Chopin Live at Lunch http://www.theconcourse.com.au/event/concourse-lunch-hour-series

11th  September: The Concourse (Chatswood)Live at Lunch: Fire and Water An Irish Fantasy( lute string trio and harp) http://www.theconcourse.com.au/event/concourse-lunch-hour-series

October: date TBC: Sydney Opera House Birthday Concert

August 2013 – November 2014: Jane Rutter presents Local Heroes Series at the Utzon Room:  dates TBC

November 26- January 25 2014 Theatre de Nesle, Paris, France: Flûtes et Moi:  Jane Rutter est Une Australienne à Paris,

Also:

July- November: Melbourne Recital Hall: dates TBC

 

 

 

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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Monologues and Dialogues – Peter Sheridan | Low Flutes

Monologues & Dialogues is Peter Sheridan’s new album featuring fourteen compositions for low flutes. Throughout the album, Peter performs on alto, bass, contrabass and hyperbass flutes, creating a showcase of the instruments pitched below the C flute. The project draws out many contrasts – the diverse ranges of the instruments, the various aesthetics and styles represented by each of the fourteen composers and the different (and sometimes surprising) roles that each instrument is asked to play.

The disc opens with Madelyn Byrne’s haunting In a Winter Landscape. The piece is a looming and mournful exploration of the bass flute as a melodic instrument paired with a largely sustained, synthesizer-ish electronic track. Directly following the Byrne, Ross Edwards’ classic, jiving solo Ulpirra appears, performed on alto flute. The spritely energy that Sheridan brings to this incarnation of Ulpirra (a piece generally heard in a higher register on recorder, piccolo and C flute) leaves no doubt as to the agility of the alto flute. These two opening tracks set the scene for the world of contrasting roles that will appear in variations throughout the album; that is, the roles of melodic, highly agile, “flutish” playing versus explorations into gritty sounds, percussive techniques and the timbral idiosyncrasies of these less common instruments.

Returning to the looming, other-worldly vibe of the opening track, Adrienne Albert’s Three for Two presents a number of sides to how the alto and bass flute can each interact with the contrabass flute as a duo. Albert opens the piece with bass flute and contrabass flute assuming roles of ornamented melody and sustained drone, respectively. Of note in this section of the movement is the use of voice in the contrabass part. We hear Sheridan singing and playing the slow, growling line, creating an amazingly striking, otherworldly landscape of difference tones and harmonics over the contrabass’s almost subsonic lower tessitura. Albert slashes straight into a contrasting B-section that depicts (for this author, at least) a slightly sinister carousel ride before the languid opening landscape returns and rolls into some gorgeous, rumbling, trilling harmonic sweeps on the contrabass. This is another amazing side of the contrabass’s sound world: the smoothness of the transition between rumbling low harmonics and flitting high ones is just sensational.

Gary Schocker’s Dark Star is a lilting look at bass flute and piano through a traditional, flute-as-melody piano-as-accompaniment lens, giving Sheridan the chance to show off some supple phrasing. Jane Hammond sensitively performs the impressionist-influenced piano part.

I find it a little difficult not to let my mind wander while listening to this particular track on the album. There’s something about many of Schocker’s compositions, including this one, that send me window gazing and I’m not too sure whether to call it a good or a bad thing.

Noisy Oyster is Hilary Taggart’s suite that features each of the alto, bass and contrabass flutes in five solo vignettes. Taggart has structured the movements such that the first and last movements are played on alto flute, the second and fourth on bass, and the middle movement on contrabass, creating a symmetrical fall then rise in pitch range over the course of the piece. The title movement, Noisy Oyster, is a jaunty little scene akin to Arthur Honegger’s Danse de la Chevre with something of a bubbling, seaside bent. It is interesting to see how much agility Taggart demands of each of the different sizes of flute. The alto and bass flute are both treated in a manner akin to writing for C flute, but Zephyr, the contrabass movement is much more of a study in the instrument’s idiomatic qualities. The opening phrase moves slowly through the contrabass’s low register, articulated with small amounts of key noise and a raspy tone. This is then juxtaposed immediately with a high phrase, demonstrating the contrabass’s extremely diverse palette of tone colours.

Vaughan McAlley’s Serenade and Burlesque is a playful set of two movements that demonstrate the low flutes in a traditional flute choir setting. Lisa Maree Amos’s appearance on C flute lends a soaring energy to the ensemble.

It’s interesting to note that Sheridan recorded each of the low flute parts himself by multi-tracking each one separately. This is a pretty cool idea and is mostly very effective but there are moments (for this author), such as on the last note of the Burlesque movement which doesn’t have a completely clean cut off, where working with a live ensemble might have given the recording a bit more of an edge.

[Listen to excerpt from Serenade and Burlesque]

Michal Rosiak’s rocking low flute quartet Quasi Latino was recorded in the same manner (i.e. all parts performed by Sheridan, multitracked) and has a very strong sense of ensemble. The piece uses the percussive key slap sounds of the lowest pitched member of the ensemble to suggest a slap bass to great effect. The piece’s zany, mixed meter material and the burbling and chugging of the low flutes suggests something of a Martian Latin band.

Vincent Giles Differing Dialogues is another adventure through the wilder sounds that the low flutes bring to the table. The piece has a certain sinister feeling, particularly once the trilling, flutter-tongue drum rolls signify the beginning of the march of doom into a shrieking, macabre forest. Giles paints an amazing landscape exploiting so many of the wondrous extended techniques offered by the instrumentation.

Addressing a completely different aesthetic are Stanley M. Hoffman’s Meditations and Memories, a restful, gorgeous and almost plainchant-like duet for alto flutes, and David Loeb’s Winter Sarabande, a hauntingly beautiful bass flute solo. These pieces each explore the melodically expressive side of the instruments as does Houston Dunleavy’s Serenade and Mike Mower’s Two Sonnets. The Mower is a dreamy and heartfelt piece that brings together elements of jazz and impressionism to create a landmark set for alto flute, occasionally reminiscent of Roussel’s Joueurs de Flute. Sheridan’s sensitivity to the phrasing shines through in each of these pieces, demonstrating his ability to approach the low flutes from a supremely musical angle.

To experience Dominy Clements’ Groaning Oceans as the penultimate track on this disc is joyously unsettling. The wild feast of electronic sounds and hyperbass flute leave one feeling a little vertigo with its wide, slow soundscape. This is a piece that very excellently pulls together some of the most wonderful sounds that Sheridan and the hyperbass flute concoct together and should optimally be enjoyed in a dark room lying on the floor.

[Listen to excerpt from Groaning Oceans]

Monologues and Dialogues is a CD whose strength lies in the achievements that abound in each track rather than as a whole album. The many disparate styles and aesthetics represented are sometimes a little incongruous when heard consecutively, but that should not take away from the wealth of care and expertise that has been put in by Sheridan and each of his collaborators – composers, performers et al. This is a disc that will teach you a great deal about what lies beneath the C flute and is a fine musical achievement to boot.

CD Track Listings (from Move)
1. In a winter landscape Madelyn Byrne 5:27
2. Ulpirra Ross Edwards 1:32
Three for Two Adrienne Albert
3. Dark and light 4:20
4. Lament for Sarah 4:13
5. Sassy 2:35
6. Dark Star Gary Schocker 3:35
Noisy Oyster Hilary Taggart
7. Noisy Oyster 1:59
8. Defragmented 2:12
9. Zephyr 3:43
10. Partita 2:30
11. Autumn Leaves 1:42
Serenade and Burlesque Vaughan McAlley
12. 2:35
13. 2:14
14. Meditations and Memories Stanley M. Hoffman 3:53
15. Differing Dialogues Vincent Giles 4:48
16. Winter Sarabande David Loeb 3:36
Two Sonnets Mike Mower
17. 4:08
18. 5:11
19. Serenade Houston Dunleavy 5:15
20. Groaning Oceans Peter Sheridan Dominy Clements 6:21
21. Quasi Latino Michal Rosiak 3:40

 

About the review author:

Shaun Barlow is a professional flute player based between Sydney and New York. He specialises in contemporary music, flute beatboxing, collaborating with composers and exploring the endless multitude of sounds available from the flute. Shaun has performed with the Sydney Conservatorium Modern Music Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra, the Kammerklang Orchestra and the Sydney University Opera Company. http://www.shaunbarlow.com/

 

 

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates
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