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Flute Agréable - Bozza, Dutilleux, Et Al / Clayton, Song

Release Date: 08/30/2005 
Label:  Crystal   Catalog #: 714   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Philip LasserHenri DutilleuxJean FrançaixPierre Sancan,   ... 
Performer:  Philip LasserApril ClaytonJu-Ying Song
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Agréable? Certainement! This happy program of music by French composers for the instrument they love is agreeable to play (no doubt) and enjoyable to listen to. April Clayton, a Juilliard graduate and now associate professor of flute at Brigham Young University, displays a smooth, beguiling tone and a sure sense of style. She makes light of tricky passages, essential in this repertoire where any semblance of effort causes the soufflé to well and truly sink. Her pianists give sensitive support—Lasser in his own Sonata and the Sancan Sonatine, J. Y. Song in the other pieces—and the recital is clearly and atmospherically Read more recorded.

The longest work here (admittedly by only one second) is the Françaix Sonata, written in the last year of his life. Not unlike some French desserts, Françaix’s music is an acquired taste and you can’t really handle too much of it at one sitting. Not so long ago, Gramophone ’s Roger Nichols revealed himself to be entirely sans sweet tooth and consigned an entire CD of Françaix’s orchestral music to the scrap heap. Well, not me: I have certain weaknesses and this is one of them. The flute sonata shows the old charmer to be as delightfully frothy as ever. The four movements are filled with melody and that particularly French shoulder-shrugging insouciance. Philip Lasser’s Sonata is more a graduate of the post-Debussy school, with an especially dream-like opening and an air of Gallic nostalgia throughout. I can’t figure out from the notes whether Lasser is French or American—he studied in both countries—but as he wrote his sonata “in a sunny studio apartment on the Left Bank,” he clearly belongs in this company. Bozza’s Agrestide is a slight, virtuoso turn to round off the recital with élan .

Comparisons are not entirely relevant; I am unaware of any other recordings of the Françaix or Lasser works. However, the Dutilleux and Sancan sonatines are staples of the repertoire and both have recently been included in recitals by Emmanuel Pahud (EMI) and Patrick Gallois (Naxos). These flutists are international stars and both command a wide expressive palette; Pahud can produce an attack as forceful as, say, Vengerov’s on the violin. I’ve not heard Pahud’s rendition of the sonatinas, but I have the Gallois disc to hand and find his playing more characterful (and therefore memorable) than April Clayton’s, fine musician though she is. Pahud and Gallois both include the Poulenc sonata, a more substantial offering than any of the above; Gallois also plays music by Messiaen, Jolivet, and Boulez. The Naxos would be my recommendation to anyone who needs only one disc of French flute music in their collection, but I wouldn’t want to be without the Françaix and Lasser sonatas—delectable pieces both. My suggestion? Indulge yourself.

FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Flute and Piano by Philip Lasser
Performer:  Philip Lasser (Piano), April Clayton (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Sonatine for Flute and Piano by Henri Dutilleux
Performer:  Ju-Ying Song (Piano), April Clayton (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; France 
Sonata for Flute and Piano by Jean Françaix
Performer:  Ju-Ying Song (Piano), April Clayton (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1996 
Sonatine for Flute and Piano by Pierre Sancan
Performer:  Philip Lasser (Piano), April Clayton (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; France 
Agrestide, Op. 44 by Eugène Bozza
Performer:  Ju-Ying Song (Piano), April Clayton (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; France 

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