Performing Without Music and Improvising
MEL BONIS - Sonata
Ballade (Frank Martin)
Improvisation 1 (Wissam Boustany)
Maiastra (Simon Holt) First Sonata (Bohuslav Martinu)
Suite Paysanne Hongroise (Bartok/Arma)
The charismatic flutist Wissam Boustany has been enjoyed in live concertizing. His recitals and recordings bear an additional political/humanitarian charge in terms of his charitable work, Towards Humanity, which figures on his liner notes; a proportion of his CD sales is directed to SOS Children's Villages UK.
Of several CDs released in 2011 by Nimbus Alliance, two will be of particular interest to our readers.
The recital with pianist Stefan Warzyinski of contemporary flute music has good accounts of Frank Martin's Ballade, "a miniature concerto",, and of Martinu's First Sonata, also arrangements for flute of some of Bartok's Chants populaires tristes.
There are too two solo items - Simon Holt's intricate and modernist, his own Improvisation far more involving, proceeding from breathing via extended techniques to a beautiful lament for the tragedies of Lebanon, Boustany's destroyed homeland. The basic notes and durations vary every time he plays it.
The latest recordings, a double CD with Aleks Szram (whom we have reviewed often) is notable for their joint decisions to perform and record from memory, which they believe leads to a different duo experience for themselves and for listeners (albeit at great cost and demand upon the time of a busy pianist with heavy commitments, one who used to review for us)...
Whatever, this newest recording (April/July 2011), celebrating also the highly sensitized inner world of the visually impaired, is a marvellous recital, the first half 'romantic and impressionistic', the other generally darker, from an "unbearably sad Elegy" by the blind composer Yevhen Stankovych, through Boustany's own "... and the wind whispers", seeking "to make a statement about our fractured world", to Khoury's overwhelmingly dark "Aprés Un Rêve", about "disillusionment after euphoria"...
Very special; recommended unreservedly.
Peter Grahame Woolf
Photo of Wissam & Aleks: Oscar Torres