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The most Excellent Flute Records
Top Class Flute CDs
----- Enjoy the most superb flute sound!


BEEP 27 -- Taffanel would probably be surprised to know that his flute fantasies are now being revived. Taffanel composed them as vehicle for his own playing in the fashionable salon concerts where melodies from favourite operas were always in demand. Through his life Taffanel always played on flutes made by the great craftsman Louis Lot, and William Bennett has chosen a similar instrument for this recording. As a former student of Marcel Moyse (one Taffanel's last pupils) William Bennett is one of the most notable exponents of the French School, which traces its roots back to this particularly brilliant period in the flute's history.


In 1989 when I joined BBC Radio 3 as a music producer one of the first responsibilities I took on was for the broadcasts of concerts by the English Chamber Orchestra. It was a great opportunity (particularly for a flute player) to work closely with an orchestra boasting one of the finest wind sections of our time. Over the last decade there have been many memorable broadcasts, and on two occasions - in 1991 and 1995 - I have also been able to bring the ECO into the BBC Maida Vale Studios to record some specially selected repertoire. Each time I have featured William Bennett - unique and unrivalled, it seems to me, as both an orchestral flute player and a soloist. This CD brings together the flute works from those BBC recordings, and there is the added bonus of Neil Black's marvellous oboe and cor anglais playing on two of them.


BEEP 35-- If - as the story goes - Mozart disliked the flute, whatever would he have made of this recording? For alongside the two, or maybe three, works that he did write for the instrument, there is one that he definitely did not. Flute players can confidently claim the Andante and the Flute and Harp Concerto, and they like to claim the delightful Rondo - although the textbooks say "spurious", falsely attributed to Mozart - but the opening work on this CD has been poached from the flute's eternal rival: the violin.
It's a transcription of the D major Violin Concerto, No4- low notes and all!
But surely, if Mozart had known about the basset flute, he would have been intrigued.
Just imagine what a marvellous extra scene there might have been in the film Amadeus if the quirky and irreverent Mozart had met an equally quirky and irreverent court musician- one Wilhelm von Bennett-who had devised a footjoint extension down to bottom A, thereby inventing the basset flute and proving that anything (or almost anything) the violin could do, the flute could do at least as well. You can just hear that


BEEP 36-- Prepare for an oblique listen, because things are not quite as they may seem on this CD. You will hear an aria without a singer, a concerto by the wrong composer, and even a handful of works for the wrong instrument! But the flute is nothing if not versatile, so sit back and enjoy a fascinating exploration of its possibilities.
The violin has always had the edge over the flute in terms of range, particularly its low register - a problem unresolved until now. Listen carefully in the Bach "Double Concerto" and you will hear a bottom A, several times. It is produced by an ingenious footjoint extension to the flute, and an attachment involving the player's own foot and a piece of string.... Quantz and Frederick would have been delighted with the pedal flute!
Which just leaves the Haydn "Concerto", or rather the concerto still often attributed to Haydn, but not known to be by his contemporary Leopold Hofmann. But what's in a name when this is one of the most delightful 18th century flute concertos? It is a perfect marriage of the gracious sensibility of the delicate-toned flute in the affecting central "Adagio", and the strong-toned flute in the athletic outer movements. Perhaps violinists might like to borrow it!


BEEP 37-- Encore! - Literally "again". More often it has come to mean an additional item nor advertised on the concert programme.
Or, as the News Grove Dictionary Wryly puts it: "an extra piece response to more than perfunctory applause".
The practice began in the 17th century with the rise of virtuoso solo singers.
Since then, encores have come in and out of fashion-sometimes encouraged sometimes deplored by composers and audiences. At the moment we are enjoying them again, and indeed they may on occasions be the most "enjoyable" part of a concert: spontaneous and relaxed music making after more serious fare.
And how much good music there is among these shorter, lighter pieces-as the present collection demonstrates.


BEEP 38-- This CD is a tribute to a great musical partnership. The recordings were mainly made in the BBC studios at Maida Vale and they demonstrate the richness and maturity of shared music making that was always the hallmark of perfomances by William Bennett and Clifford Benson.

Thinking back to those recording sessions in the mid-1990s, I keenly remember my mixed feelings of anxiety and delight as a producer. Anxiety because of the pressure we were always under to get everything recorded in the limited time available. (Once, at the very end of another seession, we had just five minutes left to play a five-minute sonata finale...Wibb and Clifford did it in one take-luckilly!). The delight was hearing this music played so wonderfully by the two of them. Listening to these recordings again as I write these notes, I am so pleased that we had the chance to capture this unique partnership in some of the key works of the flute reprertoire. Time and time again, the way Wibb and Clifford set a mood, turn a phrase, and ride the wave of a great musical climax, illuminates the music in a truly marvellous way. I only wish you could also hear the gaps between the tracks, particulary the laughter! Even though the sessions were hard work, and the music demanded to be taken seriously, the whole experience was also such fun-there was so much joy in the music making.

Clifford's recent death is therefore all the more poignant, and he will be sorely missed and remembered with affection by all who knew him. A light has gone out. But Clifford's and Wibb's joint artistry on this CD still shines brightly--these are performances to treasure.


BEEP 39-- This CD features a world premiere recording of the Concerto in D major Wq.13 by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Catalogued as a keybord concerto, this work was in fact originaly conceived as a flute concerto.The D major concerto is an example of CPE Bach's early writing style, with signs of the Empfindsamkeit "Sensibility" style, especially in the slow movement. The concerto in D minor Wq.22 was also catalogued as a keyboard concerto, but was discovered to be a flute concerto much earlier than the D major. It is more passionate, looking ahead to the Sturm und Drang style, which was characterised by dramatic silences, sudden shifts in harmony and abrupt dynamic changes. This can be especially heard in the third movement, which invokes tempestuous emotions.
Counterpoint features more strongly in the concerto for Flute and Tierce Flute, in E minor, where the composer exposes the unique timbres of the different flutes.


BEEP 40-- Not one piece on this CD was originally written for the flute. In fact they were all written for the violin. however, thanks to Denis Bouriakov we can now enjoy these great works on the flute. With the exception of the Saint-Saens, all the pieces on theis disc are world premiere recordings.


Copyright & copy; 2003 by Edward Blakeman

                ( for Beep 40 )Copyright & copy; 2009 by Roderick Seed   

These CDs are available at the following shops King International Inc.
Top Wind CDbaby
Just Flutes & Jonathan Myall All Flute Plus
Flute World Muramatsu Flute Japan
Yamano Gakki Altus Flute
Global Gakki Carolyn Nussbaum Music Company