(1) Inflorescence II-- Music for Solo Flute from Laurel Zucker, on Cantilena Records No 66022-2 Available on the internet via www.tapmusic.com, or www.flute4u.com. (See also Zucker’s many other recordings at www.Cantilenarecords.com. )
Oh! She’s done it again — another brilliant two-CD set of some of the best and most interesting works for solo flute. Zucker brings to this collection of solos the kind of variety of intensity, high level musicality, and just plain perfect technique and intonation that makes it all a joy to listen to. These performance are so clear, open, direct, and from the heart that it all seems so simple and easy, which belies the incredible work and accomplishment that goes into all her many and diverse recordings. This collection of works for flute alone is a worthy successor to her earlier Inflorescence solo compilation.
The 14 works presented have a varied style and pace, shaping the individual pieces into a very satisfying whole that includes: Astor Piazolla’s Six Tango Etudes; Les Folies d’Espagne by Marais Marais; Poulenc’s Un Joueur de Flute Berces Les Ruines; Robert Baksa’s Soloiloqy (Krishna’s Song); Toru Takemitsu’s Itinerant; The Geiger Suite by Alec Wilder; Ingolf Dahl’s Variations on Swedish Folk Tune; Daniel Akiva’s Three Pieces; Andres Jolivet’s Incantation; Lowell Liebermann’s Eight Pieces for Flute; Gary Schocker’s Solosuite; Serenade by Phillip Glass; Jennifer Higdon’s Song; and Oliver Knussen’s Masks for flute and glass chimes. All in all, a dazzling array of brilliant compositions and extraordinary flute playing. Her rapturous tone, rhythmic drive, and creative musicianship will inspire you. Inflorescence, indeed; this recording is white hot and incandescent! (J.E.P.)
(2) French Flute Solos by John Wion, flute with Thomas Hrynkiw, piano. On Hart Music Productions’ album HMP 2W91514. Price: $9.95 including shipping. (Also available directly from his own website: http://hometown.aol.com/johnwion/.)
John Wion is Principal Flutist of the New York City Opera and Professor of Flute at the Hart School of Music. Many of Wion’s previously released LPs on Musical Heritage Society, Turnabout, Opus 1, and Lyrichord records are no longer available, but some of these fine recordings are being reissued on CDs. His dazzling mastery of the French literature is evident in this comprehensive survey of 14 of the best and most widely-performed pieces from this repertoire: Benjamin Godard’s Suite, Op. 116; Andalouse by Emile Pessard, Gabriel Faure’s Fantasie, Romance by Georges Brun, Philippe Gaubert’s Andante et Allegro Scherzando; Morceau by Jules Massenet, Louis Ganne’s Andante et Scherzo; Andante et Scherzo by Paul Taffanel; George Enesco’s Cantabile et Presto; Morceau by Gabriel Faure, Alphonse Duvernoy’s Concertino, and Ballade by Albert Perilhou.
The performances and recording are all first-rate and impressive with an openness of tone, intensity of vibrato and clean technique that make these very subtle and complicated pieces seem effortless. That is the genius and joy of the French repertoire -- allowing a talented and musical performer, such as Wion, to bring out the many tone colors, technical fleetness and supple flexibility inherent in the flute so as to present the audience with a bouquet of rainbow hues, sinuous melodies, and cascades of impressive and florid runs. This album is a “must-have” for every flute student and teaching studio as it brings together in one place an important segment of our literature, and provides an outstanding tour guide for our excursion through this gorgeous music.
(While at his website, [http://hometown.aol.com/johnwion] , be sure to browse the other useful and interesting features there -- including the fascinating on-line autobiography of the first fifty years of his remarkable life and career, a historical listing of orchestral principal flutists, a list of errata found in published flute music, as well as a complete discography of flute music he has published (some with download-able parts), and links to a number of articles on flute playing and technique he has published. This is a site you will be sure to bookmark!) (J.E.P.)