Flautist Brandon Patrick George describes his debut album as a dialogue between the past and the future. It is indeed quite a leap in time from Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) to the Finnish composer Kalevi Aho, born in 1949 – yet he has included works for solo flute by both composers on this recording. There are also two important chamber works for a flute and piano duo which represent milestones in the repertoire: a sonata by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) and a sonatina by Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) – and so this release represents a walk through musical history spanning 300 years. Brandon Patrick George is the flutist of the Grammy®-nominated Imani Winds, and has performed with many of the world’s leading ensembles including the LosRead more Angeles Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).
What strikes the listener on this debut release by Brandon Patrick George, until now known as a flutist of the Imani Winds chamber ensemble, is the chances he takes. Until the final Flute Sonata, Op. 94, of Prokofiev, George plays perilously virtuosic works, with every detail of his playing exposed by hyper-clear sound from the Profil label. George chooses an intelligent program that begins with the Flute Partita in A minor, BWV 1013, on par with the solo violin and cello sonatas among the purest technical showpieces Bach ever composed. George's crisp, sharp-edged performance is masterly. The pieces by Pierre Boulez and Kalevi Aho not only extend the virtuoso challenges but tie into the implied Baroque counterpoint of Bach's Partita. Only with the Prokofiev Flute Sonata, a joyous work ironically composed during the depths of World War II, does the music relax, and George with it. It's an exceptionally well-structured program, flawlessly executed. Recorded outside New York City in 2017 and 2018, they make one hungry to hear what George has achieved over the years since.