Notes and Editorial Reviews
Francis Colpron (rcr)
ATMA 2 2677 (61:13)
Caprice No. 24 in a.
Fantasias for Solo Violin: No. 4 in D,
No. 8 in E,
Les folies d’Espagne.
Partita for Solo Flute in a,
Variations on the Gavotta from Corelli’s Sonata for Solo Violin in F,
These are the performer’s own transcriptions of works originally composed for the violin. (The exception is the set of variations by Marin Marais, originally composed for the viola da gamba.) As Colpron himself points out in the booklet note, transcribing violin music for the recorder is not as simple as switching instruments. No one recorder has the range of a violin. (If you put all the members of the recorder family together, they would exceed the violin’s range, but Colpron limits himself to one recorder per transcription, although he plays several different recorders throughout the course of this CD.) Furthermore, recorders cannot play more than one note at a time, which a violin can do, of course, by means of double- and triple-stopping. (The recorder can approximate harmonies by playing, in rapid succession, the notes that spell the chord.) Also, the violin can play both more softly and more loudly than the recorder; recorder players run the risk of playing havoc with pitch if they push the instrument too hard—or not hard enough!
Given these limitations, it is perhaps surprising that anyone would even try to play violin music on a recorder. Colpron, however, makes a very good case for doing so, thanks to the excellence of his technique, and also his good taste, musically speaking. Under normal circumstances, I am not sure that I would want to hear an hour of this—reviewing a CD might fall under the category of “extenuating circumstances”!—but taken one fantasia or set of variations at a time, it is cheerful stuff, and I have nothing but admiration for Colpron. One wonders what Arnold Dolmetsch (1858–1940), the father of modern-day recorder playing, would think. I doubt that even he would have predicted the appearance of musicians the likes of Colpron, and an appetite for recorder music such as we have today.
I should also note that, for practical reasons, Colpron does not play all of these works in their original keys, but that shouldn’t trouble anyone too much. Also, in the sets of variations by Marais and Tartini, he omits some of the variations—I assume because they simply don’t work on the recorder.
While not highly significant—except for other recorder players, perhaps—this is a bright and engaging program. There’s something about a recorder that simply makes me feel better.
FANFARE: Raymond Tuttle
Works on This Recording
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