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First Chairs Vol 2 - Flute & Friends / Emily Beynon, Et Al

Release Date: 08/12/2008 
Label:  Channel Classics   Catalog #: 26408   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sally BeamishHilary TannAmy Marcy BeachThea Musgrave,   ... 
Performer:  Emily BeynonSepp GrotenhuisAlexei OgrintchoukDaniel Esser,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


Emily Beynon is respected as one of the best living flute players, and for good reason. Her innate musicianship is apparent in everything she plays; even the simplest melodies are transformed into beautifully crafted musical shapes in her hands.

This disc, volume 2 of the First Chairs series of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, comprises flute repertoire by women composers. The opening work, Hilary Tann’s From the Song of Amergin is a beautiful work for flute viola and harp. Like Beynon, Tann is originally from Wales, and demonstrates the influence of her homeland in her writing. Based
Read more on a poem which tells of an ancient Celtic myth, the work takes on a story-telling quality, composed in sections which invoke parts of the text, representing the wind and a lake, a tear and the sun, and a hawk above a cliff. Repeated musical ideas represent the text ‘I am’ which begins every line of the chosen extract of the poem and gives an overall unity to the work. The playing from this trio is of the highest quality, and this ten minute work is captivating in its entirety.

Amy Beach is said to have been the first successful American composer of large-scale art music. She was reportedly a child prodigy, and had a very promising early career, until her marriage in 1883 put a stop to her performing career. Her husband allowed her only do to one charity concert a year. Following her husband’s death in 1910, she recommenced her musical activities and spent four years touring Europe and gaining a reputation as a pianist and composer. The style of her music is Romantic, and comparisons are often brought with Brahms. This Theme and Variations is a quintet for flute and strings. Each variation has a character of its own, from energetic, bustling and busy music to lazy waltzes and charmingly poised melodies. There is an evenness of balance between the instruments in the ensemble; the disc is clearly intended as a portrait of Beynon, but I am aware when listening of the musical sensibilities which make her become part of the chamber ensemble rather than a soloist imposed upon it. Her playing takes centre stage when required, but there is no ego here – this recording is very much about the music, and the individual players are all given an opportunity to shine.

Words for my Daughter is a seven minute piece for flute and piano by London-born composer Sally Beamish. After an opening burst of energy, the music transforms into a haunting melody, with dark piano clusters supporting the flute line. Based on Janet Paisley’s poem, the sleeve notes explain that this piece tells the story of the “cycle of life from mother to daughter and on to granddaughter”. It was composed for Emily Beynon and Elizabeth Burley, as a commission from the Young Concert Artists Trust, and was premiered by them in 1996.

Thea Musgrave was born in Scotland and now lives in America. Her Impromptu for flute and oboe, written in 1967, is a powerful work, in which the flute and oboe lines dance around each other in a feisty dialogue which eventually reaches unison.

The disc ends with another Romantic work, this time by Louise Farrenc, who was a pupil of Anton Reicha’s at the Paris Conservatoire. She married the flute player Aristide Farrenc, and together they performed throughout France. Aristide later became a publisher and Louise returned her focus to composition, primarily of chamber music, and had most of her works published by her husband’s company. She was the only woman in the 19th century to become a professor at the Paris Conservatoire, where she taught for thirty years. This trio for flute, cello and piano was the last chamber work she composed before her death in 1875. It demonstrates a mature style with rich harmonies and a strong musical identity. The opening allegro deciso is a strong and powerful movement, with the cello adding strength to the bass line. In contrast, the lyrical andante is simple, making use of undulating quavers and gentle melody lines. The ensuing Scherzo has a renewed energy, and the final presto combines rapidly moving sections with more lyrical lines.

The quality of playing on this disc is exceptional throughout. Each performance is impeccable and musically engaging. The choice of works is fascinating, giving an opportunity for some less well known works to be heard and demonstrating the diversity in styles between the different composers that are represented. Unmissable.

-- Carla Rees, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Words for my Daughter by Sally Beamish
Performer:  Emily Beynon (Flute), Sepp Grotenhuis (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 7 Minutes 23 Secs. 
From the Song of Amergin by Hilary Tann
Performer:  Alexei Ogrintchouk (Oboe), Sepp Grotenhuis (Piano), Daniel Esser (Cello),
Petra van der Heide (Harp), Roland Krämer (Viola), Emily Beynon (Flute),
Henk Rubingh (Violin), Marijn Mijnders (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 10 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet, Op. 80 by Amy Marcy Beach
Performer:  Marijn Mijnders (Violin), Henk Rubingh (Violin), Roland Krämer (Viola),
Daniel Esser (Cello), Emily Beynon (Flute)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1916; USA 
Length: 21 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Impromptu no 1 for Flute and Oboe by Thea Musgrave
Performer:  Alexei Ogrintchouk (Oboe), Emily Beynon (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; Scotland 
Length: 5 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Trio for Flute/Violin, Cello and Piano in E minor, Op. 45: 1st movement, Allegro deciso by Jeanne-Louise Farrenc
Performer:  Sepp Grotenhuis (Piano), Daniel Esser (Cello), Emily Beynon (Flute)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1862; France 
Length: 8 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Trio for Flute/Violin, Cello and Piano in E minor, Op. 45: 2nd movement, Andante by Jeanne-Louise Farrenc
Performer:  Sepp Grotenhuis (Piano), Emily Beynon (Flute), Daniel Esser (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1862; France 
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Trio for Flute/Violin, Cello and Piano in E minor, Op. 45: 3rd movement, Scherzo by Jeanne-Louise Farrenc
Performer:  Emily Beynon (Flute), Daniel Esser (Cello), Sepp Grotenhuis (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1862; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Trio for Flute/Violin, Cello and Piano in E minor, Op. 45: 4th movement, Presto by Jeanne-Louise Farrenc
Performer:  Emily Beynon (Flute), Daniel Esser (Cello), Sepp Grotenhuis (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1862; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 47 Secs. 

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