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French and Swedish Flute Music & The Incredible RAA BAND

The flute has been a central preoccupation for French composers since the end of the 19th century and each of the three CDs reviewed presents the solo and accompanied repertoire with the greatest expertise and refinement.

Gaby Pas van Riet,Flöte & Paul Gulda, Klavier • La flûte magique

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Fantasie für Flöte und Klavier, op. 79
Francis Poulenc (1899 - 1963)
Sonate für Flöte und Klavier
Darius Milhaud (1892 - 1974)
Sonatine für Flöte und Klavier (1922)
Albert Roussel (1869 - 1937)
Aria; Andante und Scherzo op. 51
Joueurs de flûte op. 27
Charles Koechlin (1867-1950)
Sonate für Klavier und Flöte, op.52
Morceau de lecture pour la flûte, op. 218 Adagio
14 pièces pour flûte et piano

HERA 02111 (Hybrid* Super Audio CD DSD stereo)

MICHEL DEBOST One simple flute

Three Oriental Pieces
Goat Dance
Tender Birds
Seven Songs of Nectaire
Incantation n°.4 For a serene communion of the being with the world
Four Improvisations

SKARBO D SK 1993 [TT: 53']

Michel Debost is a senior exponent of his instrument and this is the third of his 5 CDs Flute Panorama; there is also a book Une simple flute (1996). Flautists will not hesitate to acquire these, but general collectors may find that the composers do not establish their individualities fully with a single line. Ohana's third Improvisation is for piccolo, which helps give a little variety. (For more recent developments in flute technique, I recommend avant garde selections by Mario Caroli and Nancy Rufer.)

No reservations about Gaby Pas van Riet's Magic Flute with pianist Paul Gulda, son of a famous pianist father and pupil of Serkin, and listed first on the cover, not without some reason; he's far more than an accompanist and his virtuosity gives an edge to these performances. This programme covers most of the leading composers active in the early 20 C, with substantial sonatas by Poulenc, Milhaud & Koechlin, together with a set of the latter's numerous miniatures for various instruments.

Edward Beckett with London Festival Orchestra/Ross Pople

Hüe: Gigue, Nocturne
Villette: Complainte - Listen
Saint-Saëns Romance; Odelette
Ravel:Piece en forme de habañéra
Godard: Suite for Flute and Orchestra, Op.226
Büsser: Andalucia
Fauré: Fantaisie
Périlhou: Ballade
Widor: Scherzo & Romance

Black Box BBM1049

Edward Beckett's choice of romantic French flute music is pleasing; only Fauré's Fantaisie overlapping with the repertoire above.A student of Rampal and Moyse, great names in the flute pantheon, his selection with orchestral accompaniment is mellifluous and interesting, bringing lesser known music by composers better known in other genres (Villette for choir, Widor for organ) briefly into the limelight.

We are given a useful history of the Boehm-system's establishment in Paris, mid-19 C. The recital includes several Conservatoire test pieces which made their way into the enduring repertoire; romantic music and with requisite virtuosity, but none of it cloying. The most recent piece is Villette's Complainte of 1954; no great anguish to disturb the prevailing mood - Resignation might better describe it.

Novelties from Sweden

For something more unusual try the enterprising young Swedish flautist Kinga Prada, who has enlisted composer and musician friends for her collection of mostly very recent new Swedish flute music on nosag CD 029.

The liner notes are personal and sometimes jokey. It is all fresh and the enterprise deserves applause and support. Pictures show her enjoying the brief Swedish summer.








The Incredible RAA BAND
Musikgruppen RAA

Gason CD743

A delightful window onto a branch of world music which is normally outside the range of our our coverage.

Discs reaching us unsolicited from Sweden are nearly always stimulating one way or another, and this compilation certainly shows us what we missed in the heyday of The Incredible String Band in the '60s & 70's.

Aficionados of the original group with their LPs in their collections will surely warm to this Swedish version of many of their songs, with delightful soloists and a vast range of instrumental backing.

The production is in Swedish but the whole booklet is available in English on line; sadly, not the actual texts of the songs themselves.

Nonetheless, this disc as been an ear-opener and I have put it on my iPod "Favourites".

Peter Grahame Woolf



© Peter Grahame Woolf