"Laurel Zucker's Cantilena label has been prolifically productive and all the more welcome for the warm music-making of Zucker and her instrumental partners...All Cantilena issues feature strikingly coloured cover art by Dee Sanchez and all use heavy card sleeves with a glued in plastic stem face into which the disc is fitted. The sleeves carry concise information about the music and the composers and are miracles of good design which balance pleasure for the eye with the legibility necessary to carry information.
This is not I think the first time Franck's violin sonata has been recorded in a version for flute and piano. It gives another warmer accent to this well known work and also shows Zucker breaking away from herRead more accustomed territory of suites, genre pieces and atmosphere poems. This grand work of the romantic repertoire receives the customary warm and long-lined lyrical treatment. It works remarkably well especially in the finale. The piano is tactfully balanced and if anything sounds as if its top end presence has been toned down so that at all times it sounds velvety and hardly ever percussive. Ravel's sultry Pièce en forme de Habanera is given here in the transcription by Louis Fleury and at moments looks forward, not very far, to the Rapsodie espagnole. Fauré's Morceau de concours is one of a host of competition pieces - ultimately unremarkable. The Debussy Little Shepherd (no. 5 from Children's Corner) is warmly fruity and fades into an evening that seems to breathe Saharan heat. Schubert's Introduction and Variations on a Theme from the Mullerlieder (not Mullerleider, Cantilena) op. 25 makes a and poetic rare appearance in this classically-based collection. The extended and inventive Variations are on the song Trockne (not Trochne) Blumen from Schöne Müllerin. Usually anything by the prolific and long-lived Milhaud is going to be a delight and so it proves with the flute Sonatine. There's a sinuously insidious Tendre, a troubled rippling Souple with some shivering undercurrents and a final confident almost swaggering Clair. Marc Shapira is discreetly supportive throughout. Zucker is very much in the foreground and no one can regret that in the face of such emotionally communicative playing.
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