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Kiwi Flute / Alexa Still

Release Date: 04/22/1997 
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7345   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Anthony RitchieJohn RitchieChloe MoonDavid Hamilton
Performer:  Alexa Still
Conductor:  James Sedares
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

It takes a release like this to renew one's faith in the future of plain old tradition-based and broadly communicative music. Here are four averagely talented composers from a somewhat marginal musical culture (except for the veteran Douglas Lilburn, New Zealand has yet to produce any first-rank creative voices, in spite of a currently very dynamic musical scene there) who are simply content to let their innate melodic invention and thorough technical training enable them to bring forth four genuinely disarming works.

The flute is an instrument that always seems to elicit the most winsome and benign impulses from composers of various persuasions, and this program offers an indubitable test-case. Father and son John (b. 1921)
Read more and Anthony (b. 1960) Ritchie are obviously sprung from the same stylistic branch, with the son's eighteen-minute Concerto probably dispensing the lion's share of good tunes in this collection. It's the kind of piece, at the same time both inspiriting and ingratiating, that seems to write itself once the principal ideas are settled upon and defined. Perhaps some lingering quasi-minimalist interest in East European folk cultures can be detected here and there, but in essence this bouncy and bewitching piece uses the language of musical Esperanto to reach a universal audience, as does the shorter, more pensive and reserved 1992 movement by the father—The Snow Goose—which was inspired by the famous Paul Gallico fantasy of the same name.

The compact thirteen-minute Concertino of 1983 by Chloe Moon (how is that wondrous name for antipodean enchantment?) indicates perhaps a slightly more abrasive temperament in its Bartókian harmonies, but the end result is similar to the tonic impact of the Ritchie Concerto. And, to close, another productive member of the younger generation—David Hamilton (b. 1955)—gives us one of the most buoyant and breathless passacaglias on record.

Of course, the amazing Alexa Still tosses off these works (one of which—A. Ritchie Concerto—was written especially for her) with her characteristic panache, while Sedares and the New Zealand Symphony (with whom he has collaborated on many worthy projects for Koch) offer exemplary support.

Not just for flute lovers: music-lovers, too.

-- Paul A. Snook, FANFARE [7/1997] Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Flute by Anthony Ritchie
Performer:  Alexa Still (Flute)
Conductor:  James Sedares
Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: New Zealand 
The Snow Goose by John Ritchie
Performer:  Alexa Still (Flute)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1982 
Date of Recording: 05/1995 
Venue:  Symphony House, Wellington, New Zealand 
Length: 7 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Concertino for flute & chamber orchestra by Chloe Moon
Performer:  Alexa Still (Flute)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1983 
Date of Recording: 05/1995 
Venue:  Symphony House, Wellington, New Zealand 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Passacaglia, for flute & chamber orchestra by David Hamilton
Performer:  Alexa Still (Flute)
Period: Modern 
Written: 1987 
Date of Recording: 05/1995 
Venue:  Symphony House, Wellington, New Zealand 
Length: 9 Minutes 10 Secs. 

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