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La Joueuse De Flûte - Mel Bonis / Ruhland, Wiek


Release Date: 06/10/2008 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 93204   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Tatjana RuhlandFlorian WiekLukas FriederichGesa Jenne-Donneweg,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 13 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



Bonis Suite, op. 59. Andante et allegro. Air vaudois. Septuor fantaisie. Scènes de la forêt. Suite dans le style ancient. Pièce, op. 189. Une flûte soupier. Scherzo final Tatjana Ruhland (fl); Florian Wiek (pn); Stuttgart RSO members HÄNSSLER 93.204 (71:30)


She led a life fit for the movies. Born to a middle-class family with no artistic proclivities, Read more Mélanie Bonis learned to play piano very early, and was accepted to the Paris Conservatoire before she reached her twenties. There, her talent flowered, and her classmates—among whom were Pierné and Debussy—as well as her teachers, including Cesar Frank, were enthusiastic about her future career. It was never to be; in the conservatoire she had fallen in love with composition but also with a fellow student, and her traditional family decided that enough was enough. For a woman to be an artist was still acceptable, but to be married to one was not.


Mélanie was pressured into dropping out of the Conservatoire and marrying a widower 25 years her senior, Albert Domange, who was already the father of five children. For 10 years she devoted herself to these children and to her own three offspring, being the perfect housewife, as was expected of her. After that, she started seeing her old flame again, and finally became pregnant with her lover’s child. The existence of this baby was kept a secret from her husband and her family, and was only revealed years later because, by one of those cruel twists of destiny, the girl, Madeleine, came to fall in love with Melanie’s son Edouard, and they decided to wed. The separation from her lover, the loveless marriage, having her newborn daughter taken away from her (and raised by the lover’s family), the forbidden affair with its inherent allotment of guilt and shame, the disclosure of her sin, the loss of a son, all these tragedies filled her life with grief and ultimately contributed to her failing health and to her disappearance from public view.


Her music, published under the gender-neutral name of Mel-Bonis, was highly considered by her contemporaries, but has remained largely forgotten by music historians and interpreters alike. With such a rich life story, it would be interesting to hear even if the quality of the composition were less commendable than it is. But it constitutes an agreeable surprise, being actually very good, in a style reminiscent of Franck, Fauré, and at times, Debussy. No, it is not lacking in personality. Bonis was simply permeable to the current styles of her day, as were her Conservatoire colleagues.


If her œuvre had received the public recognition it deserves, we might be saying that the music of Pierné or Chaminade resembles Bonis’s. It is certainly stylistically coherent, well crafted, unashamedly lyrical, very sensitive and delicate, taking advantage of the character of each instrument for which she wrote, and displaying unusual ability in dealing with unusual combinations of instruments (how many good pieces for flute, horn, and piano do you know?). Her writing for the flute, amply exemplified on the present CD, is idiomatic and evocative, full of beautiful insights and melodic inventiveness. By the time she died, her compositions would probably be considered too old-fashioned and anachronistic. Be that as it may, nothing justifies the virtual disappearance of such an outstanding body of work.


So the present CD is more than welcome, and the nine works performed make us hungry for more. As far as I know, no other recording exists of all these pieces together. The interpretations are consistently elegant, committed, and intelligent. Tatjana Ruhland has unobtrusive technique, coupled with a huge, limpid tone, made even better by a spare use of vibrato. Florian Wiek is an equally good pianist, with a variegated palette and a truly refreshing notion of how much weight to apply to each passage. Together, their phrasing is flexible and light, and warmly glowing at just the right places. All the other musicians involved are excellent technically and musically and obviously passionate about this repertoire. Bonis could not have chosen better champions, and I am sure she would be proud of this CD. This is a disc that deserves a space in the collection of anyone interested in French music, flute repertoire, women’s achievements, tragic stories, hidden musical treasures . . . That is a lot of people, and they all will discover motives to enjoy this delightful music, delightfully played. A great find, most definitely recommended.


FANFARE: Laura Rónai
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Suite for Flute, Violin and Piano, Op. 59 by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Tatjana Ruhland (Flute), Florian Wiek (Piano), Lukas Friederich (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; France 
Length: 9 Minutes 33 Secs. 
2.
Andante and Allegro for Flute and Piano, Op. 133 by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Tatjana Ruhland (Flute), Florian Wiek (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; France 
Length: 5 Minutes 21 Secs. 
3.
Air vaudois for Flute and Piano, Op. 108 by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Florian Wiek (Piano), Tatjana Ruhland (Flute)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Length: 4 Minutes 7 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Piano, 2 Flutes, 2 Violins, Viola and Cello, Op. 72 "Fantasy-Septet" by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Florian Wiek (Piano), Gesa Jenne-Donneweg (Violin), Lukas Friederich (Violin),
Ansgar Schneider (Cello), Christina Singer (Flute), Ingrid Philippi (Viola),
Tatjana Ruhland (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Length: 12 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: France (1910).
Composition revised: France (1927). 
5.
Forest Scenes (4), Op. 123 by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Florian Wiek (Piano), Wolfgang Wipfler (French Horn), Tatjana Ruhland (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Length: 14 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: France (1927 - 1928). 
6.
Suite for Flute, Violin, Viola and Piano, Op. 127 no 1 "in the Ancient Style" by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Florian Wiek (Piano), Gesa Jenne-Donneweg (Violin), Ingrid Philippi (Viola),
Tatjana Ruhland (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 
Length: 12 Minutes 2 Secs. 
7.
Pièce for Flute and Piano, Op. 189 by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Florian Wiek (Piano), Tatjana Ruhland (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: circa 1900; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 25 Secs. 
8.
Une flûte soupire for Flute and Piano, Op. 121 by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Florian Wiek (Piano), Tatjana Ruhland (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: France (1925 - 1936). 
9.
Scherzo final for Flute and Piano, Op. 187 by Mélanie Bonis
Performer:  Florian Wiek (Piano), Tatjana Ruhland (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 8 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Suite en trio, Op. 59: I. Serenade
Suite en trio, Op. 59: II. Pastorale
Suite en trio, Op. 59: III. Scherzo
Andante et allegro, Op. 133: Andante
Andante et allegro, Op. 133: Allegro
Air vaudois, Op. 108
Fantaisie, Op. 72, "Septuor"
Scenes de la foret, Op. 123: No. 1. Nocturne
Scenes de la foret, Op. 123: No. 2. A l'aube
Scenes de la foret, Op. 123: No. 3. Invocation
Scenes de la foret, Op. 123: No. 4. Pour Artemis
Suite dans le style ancien, Op. 127 (version for flute, violin, viola and piano): I. Prelude
Suite dans le style ancien, Op. 127 (version for flute, violin, viola and piano): II. Fuguette
Suite dans le style ancien, Op. 127 (version for flute, violin, viola and piano): III. Choral
Suite dans le style ancien, Op. 127 (version for flute, violin, viola and piano): IV. Divertissement
Piece pour flute et piano, Op. 189
Une flute Soupire, Op. 121
Final, Op. 187

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