Notes and Editorial Reviews
A valuable and worthy tribute to a rare artist.
Julius Baker’s admirers will want to snap up this tribute without undue delay. The eminent flautist is captured with Boris Barere, Simon’s son, in a range of works principally Baroque and Classical though reaching out to the French repertoire and also embracing Alec Templeton, whose own taste for the Baroque was well known.
Undated, the recordings are a little cloudy. The Bach selection features Baker’s liquid warmth and superior sense of phrasing. Passagework is unblemished and the legato is spun effortlessly – or seems so. Handel’s sonata is buoyant and exciting with an especially ebulliently played Gigue finale. He varies and shapes dynamics with acumen in
its repeated phrases, keeping things alive and never sliding into routine phrasing. His articulation is razor sharp but the tone remains full and warm and there’s tremendous colour in his playing. The Quantz is lyrically warm and the Mozart sports an especially felicitous and fleet cadential passage.
One might expect Baker to shine brightly in quintessential French repertoire and he doesn’t disappoint. Fauré’s Fantasy is beautifully phrased with its opening slow section a study in melody sustenance and the ensuing faster second half ebulliently done. The languor of Syrinx is pitched adeptly. Huë’s Fantasy has its share of conservatoire runs but they’re balanced by its impressionistic hues, its decorations and lyric effusions. The little embedded orientalist touches are outstanding and amusing. Alec Templeton’s 1927 Trio is one of his typically pithy and warm-hearted pieces. It has its fare share of VW-derived folkloric moments and its supple, dancing patterns enliven the finale in particular with well distributed themes. Finely played by the composer, Albert Goltzer and Baker it makes for concise and enjoyable listening.
This is a valuable tribute to Baker, who authorised the release of all this material before his 2003 death. As for the booklet there are a number of minor typos (misspelling of Quantz for example) and I’ve had to fill in BWV numbers and the like. A small gripe. Otherwise a worthy tribute to a rare artist.
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
Works on This Recording
Syrinx by Claude Debussy
Julius Baker (Flute)
Written: 1913 pub 1927
Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano by Alec Templeton
Albert Goltzer (Oboe),
Julius Baker (Flute),
Alec Templeton (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1954; USA
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