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Rarescale (Carla Rees, flutes, Antoine Françoise, piano, and Michael Oliva, electronics)

Patrick Nunn's 'Into my Burning Veins a Poision'
Michael Oliva's Nocturne
Andrew McBirnie's 'The Sun By Day' for quarter-tone flute
Michael Oliva's 'Apparition and Release'
Matt Smith's 'Rip Tide'
Scot Wilson's 'Fluxion'
David Burnand's 'For Tarkovsky'
with electroacoustics and film

St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, London 13 October 2008

A showcase for low flutes, Carla Rees featured alto and bass flutes in mainly new compositions by little known composers; and too the quarter-tone flute (new to me).

Flautist Carla Rees has made a notable niche for herself and is the driving force behind this charitable organisation which promotes alto and bass flutes through performances and educational projects, including a flute academy with 15 members aged 18 to 28 (pictured).

This recital at Shoreditch attracted a good turnout of around 100, but for me the Achilles Heel was the indifferent quality of the music which got to be heard (Robert Fokkens' "Mobius digital looper" had problems and his piece was not performed).

Some of the pieces did not make a good cause for the low flutes, and in Nunn's prize-winning work the assertive piano overwhelmed the alto and made me wonder if it wouldn't go better on normal flute? A lot of the evening's music was discursive and rhapsodic, with rhythmic development in short supply. On this showing of single works, none of these composers names imprinted themselves upon my memory; the concert world of aspiring composers is overcrowded and Survival of the Fittest figures (I am currently reading Darwin's Struggle for Existence).

The evening would have benefitted from some spoken introductions about the instruments and the electronics to supplement the lavish programme book; e.g. one heard notes "bent" in McBirnie's piece, but not remarkably so. The realisation of the film content of David Burnand's homage to Tarkovsky was, to my eyes, crude and ineffective.

The next stage must be for Carla to persuade some rated composers to write for her low flutes... How about approaching Doina Rotaru for a start?

Peter Grahame Woolf