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 “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