CD and Other Review

Review: Sonorous Sonatas (Peter Sheridan)

★★★☆☆ Peter Sheridan’s Sonorous Sonatas reveals the rarely heard sounds of the lower flutes. Commissioned by Sheridan himself, the works feature alto, subcontrabass, and pretty much every flute in between.    Gary Schocker’s bubbly Music for a Lost Planet opens the album with Sheridan’s alto flute vibrato rhythmic in Above. The piano is so strikingly similar in range that the instruments seem to blend into one, but the aggressive Burn reaches more familiar realms with flute playing at a higher register.  A flutter-tonguing bass flute opens Taran Carter’s Owls Sfutel. The Allegretto movement initially seems an expression of random madness – but stick with it, as it soon falls into a jazzy rhythm. Con Molto Energy is announced by a metronomic pounding of the piano – not a style the ears are accustomed to after half an hour of ‘sonorous’ flutes! Andrew Downes’ Sonata for contrabass flute is far warmer – though it’s a shame about the clicky keys. Carolyn Morris’s Forest Over Sea features gorgeous harmonies. The album finishes with Houston Dunleavy’s bizarre Clumsy Dances – an opportunity to hear the subcontrabass flute, yes, but a poor fit for the release.  Everyone should invest time into listening to rarer…

June 26, 2015
CD and Other Review

Review: Revolution (Emmanuel Pahud)

Editor’s Choice: Chamber – July 2015 ★★★★★ For some years Emmanuel Pahud has been the poster boy of the flute fraternity with prominent positions in the Berlin Philharmonic and Claudio Abbado’s hand-picked Lucerne Festival Orchestra. His superb two-disc set The Flute King explored the German school hovering around the court of Frederick the Great, while this new release is a tribute to the French school of the late 18th century.  For those of us who grew up with hoary old music histories declaring this a period bereft of interest apart from Mozart and Haydn, other fascinating developments from a time of social turmoil are gradually coming to light. Earlier recordings of these works in the old “Dresden china” manner of playing were mostly deadly dull and reinforced those old prejudices so it is a delight to hear them taken by the scruff of the neck and presented with the sort of flair and élan that a crack team would lavish on a mainstream masterpiece.  Pahud’s playing is stunning with perfectly focused tone at all dynamics, immaculate articulation and a technique so supreme that one can simply enjoy it for its physicality and grace. A single sustained note from Pahud can…

June 22, 2015