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

 

The Art of Elegant Conversation – Elysium Ensemble

Review by Angus McPherson

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)

Sei Duetti, op. 2 (1959)

elysiumreview

  The Art of Elegant Conversation, a recording of Johann Joachim Quantz’s Sei Duetti by Greg Dikmans and Lucinda Moon of the Elysium Ensemble, is the first of a series of recordings intended to promote newly discovered and hitherto neglected chamber music from the Baroque and early-Classical periods. Despite the fame Quantz enjoys in the flute community, particularly for his treatise Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (1752) and some of his better-known sonatas and concertos, much of his vast compositional output remains unpublished and unrecorded. Performed on period instruments and informed by a close study of the Versuch, this CD is a thoughtful and sensitive exploration of Quantz’s rarely performed Sei Duetti.   From 1741 until his death in 1773, Quantz served in the court of King Frederick II of Prussia, a flute player and an avid music lover. Quantz was Frederick’s flute teacher and was responsible for the King’s private chamber music concerts; he was also the only member of the court permitted to critique the King’s flute playing. Written as didactic works (in his preface to the score, Quantz extolls the virtues of playing duets as an important part of a musician’s training) it is not impossible that the Sei Duetti were first played by Quantz and King.   Although Quantz composed these duets for two flutes, in his preface he outlines a number of different possible instrumental combinations, writing: “In general, duets as well as trios produce a better and more intelligible effect on two instruments of different type than upon instruments of the same kind.” The combination of flute and violin used in this recording is particularly effective. The two distinct timbres provide clarity between the voices, allowing the listener to follow Quantz’s two-part writing and enhancing the impression of a sophisticated dialogue. Dikmans and Moon form a crisp, well-balanced ensemble, their parts weaving independently at times before joining together in perfectly synchronised flourishes. The result is beautiful, engaging and far more interesting than one would expect from over an hour of flute duets.   This CD will be fascinating for those interested in the music of Quantz and the style that straddles the end of the Baroque and beginning of the Classical period. Well-researched and insightful, this performance is also an excellent example of the practical applications of the study of Quantz’s Versuch. A PDF scan of the first edition of the score, from 1759, is available from the International Music Score Library Project for those who want to delve more deeply into this music.   The Art of Elegant Conversation is a charming, multifaceted recording that will delight both casual listeners and aficionados of historically informed performance. Dikmans and Moon have taken Quantz’s duets, deceptively light on the surface, and turned them into a conversation that is stimulating as well as elegant.   The Art of Elegant Conversation is available from Resonus Classics and iTunes.

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

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

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

Jane Rutter, An Australian in Paris

– Press Release, 2nd March 2012 –

Internationally acclaimed flutist Jane Rutter stars in the smash hit music/theatre piece An Australian in Paris: a semi- autobiographical celebration of delicious French music, from La Belle Époque to the present day.

Using French poetry and her own anecdotes, Jane relates her experiences in this beautiful, romantic city, along with tales of many other artists, writers and musicians who have flocked there to form their ‘artistic personalities’. At the same time, she brings her incomparable artistry to the music of Debussy, Fauré, Piaf, Ravel, Aznavour and other French favourites.

“I went to Paris at the age of 18 to study the flute with Jean- Pierre Rampal and Alain Marion, two of the instrument’s great luminaries,” says Jane.

“In many ways it was the making of me.

“Since then I have been passionate about telling the story of Paris’s love affair with the human voice, born in the opera houses of the 19th century and the singing melodies of Chopin. It’s an elegant, passionate tradition that’s communicative, lyrical, and marvellously human: a narrative to the art of being expressive. This lyricism is everywhere in Paris: not just in music, but in art, food, fashion and the way people live.”

The Rampal Flute Style, or ‘Bel Canto’, connects on a philosophical level with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Chopin, Bizet and Offenbach, and has personal links to Debussy, Ravel, the French Impressionists, Stravinsky, Poulenc, Messiaen and many others. It is a truly narrative approach: played this way, the flute is a voice.

“In An Australian in Paris, my flute speaks with the Rampal- inspired musical style of Parisian classical flutists,” says Jane. “It also ‘describes’ the revolutionary theatrical styles of the Parisian demi-monde (stars such as Josephine Baker, Édith Piaf, Colette, Nijinsky and Charles Aznavour, to name a few). It’s a tale that needs telling. It reaches out to those who love music, cabaret, ballet, literature and the performing arts, great stories and all things French!”

Recorded live in Sydney’s Independent Theatre and in Paris, An Australian in Paris captures on DVD all the energy and excitement of this critically acclaimed show. A studio recording of the repertoire, featuring extra material not included in the live show, is also available on CD.

More information: www.abcclassics.com

 

Buy ‘An Australian in Paris’

CD – http://shop.abc.net.au/products/rutter-j-an-australian-in-cd

DVD – http://shop.abc.net.au/products/rutter-j-an-australian-dvd

 

Listen to the Youtube links for ‘An Australian in Paris’

‘An Australian in Paris’ 5 minute excerpts:

Visit Jane’s Website (find listings of upcoming performances and more)

http://www.janerutter.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

‘Vocalise’ (Karen Lonsdale, flute)

This month Flute Tutor Australia is pleased to feature ‘Andantino’, the first of Mouquet’s five short pieces, beautifully played by Karen Lonsdale (flute) and Dave Mibus (piano).

This is just one of the 17 tracks on Karen’s Album, ‘Vocalise’. We hope you enjoy listening to this track as much as we do.

Full CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/KarenLonsdale

Listen:

Mouquet: Cinq pièces brèves (click play below when the button appears to listen)

[audio:http://www.flutetutor.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Karen-Lonsdale-07-Mouquet_-5-Short-Pieces-1.mp3|titles=Karen Lonsdale 07 Mouquet_ 5 Short Pieces 1]

Carmen Suite – George Bizet (arr. Peter Simpson)

An absolutely beautiful performance by Ben Hoadley -Bassoon; Luca Manghi -Flute; David Kelly -Piano which was recorded live at The Studio, Flute Tree & The Woodwind Group Feb 2012.

For more information or to connect with the artists, please contact Flute Tutor Australia.  To enquire about the venue please contact Flute Tree & The Woodwind Group