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Francaix, Daniel-lesur, Ropartz, Ravel

Canta Libre Chamber Ensemble / Francaix / Ropartz
Release Date: 09/14/2010 
Label:  Four-tay   Catalog #: 4033   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jean Yves Daniel-LesurMaurice RavelGuy RopartzJean Françaix
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canta Libre Chamber Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 40 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

CANTA LIBRE CHAMBER ENSEMBLE Canta Libre C Ens 4TAY 4033 (39:23) available at james-arts.com

ROPARTZ Prelude, Marine and Chansons. FRANÇAIX Quintet No. 1 for Flute, Harp & String Trio. DANIEL-LESUR Suite Médiévale. RAVEL Pavane pour une infante défunte Read more />

What an utterly delightful disc! To begin reviewing it with the last piece first, any time someone can get something new and different out of Ravel’s Pavane, you know you’re in for a treat, and Canta Libre does exactly that. Paring the original orchestration down to a quintet, they draw so many moods and colors from the piece as to almost make it sound new. Even listeners normally hardened against transcriptions will, I think, find this performance a revelation.

Canta Libre was formed in 2002 by flutist Sally Shorrock to perform music specifically written for flute, harp, and strings. The other musicians in the group are harpist Karen Linquist, violinist Bryony Stroud-Watson, violist Veronica Stroud, and cellist Bernard Tamosaitis. The group performs mostly in the Northeast, in Connectict, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as the music festival of the Hamptons. It has also performed and toured internationally and at such music festivals as Aspen, Spoleto, and Tanglewood. This is its debut CD, and it is a winner.

Perhaps it is not an accident that all four works on this disc are by French composers. The French have always had a love for this particular quintet configuration, and wind quintets as well. I’ve long been familiar with, and a fan of, Françaix’s wind quintet, particularly in the outstanding performance by the New York Woodwind Quintet (Everest), and this quintet for flute, harp, and strings is no less delightful and effective. Perhaps because he was writing for this particular combination and not a horn and winds, Françaix gives us a more buoyant, less quirky, but equally inventive piece—the second-movement Scherzo, in particular, has a dance-like feel to it, while the final Rondo is based on the humorous folk song Savez-vous planter les choux? or, “Do you know how to plant cabbages?” Ropartz’s little suite is based on impressions of the sea. It is the most tonally austere of the four works here, but also quite emotionally intense as well as evocative of the ocean.

Undoubtedly the most unusual, and least-known, work on this program is Jean Yves Daniel-Lesur’s Suite Médiévale, written in 1946 and premiered in 1947. Daniel-Lesur always complained that he “always thought modally. Subsequently I was receptive to both the diversity and the immense possibilities of polymodality.” Because of this, it was an easy reach for Daniel-Lesur to write a mediaeval suite using intervals of fourths and fifths and still make it sound modern. Here, as elsewhere in this program, Canta Libre plays with enthusiasm, polish, rhythmic acuity, and lyrical sweep. Indeed, it reminds me very much of the Nash Ensemble, in my view the sina qua non of such groups. Highly recommended.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

Suite Médiévale, for flute, harp & string trio by Jean Yves Daniel-Lesur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canta Libre Chamber Ensemble
Period: Modern 
Written: 1946 
Date of Recording: 06/2009 
Venue:  Bramble Brook Space 
Length: 11 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Pavane pour une infante défunte by Maurice Ravel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canta Libre Chamber Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; France 
Date of Recording: 06/2009 
Venue:  Bramble Brook Space 
Length: 5 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Prélude, marine et chanson, for flute, harp, violin, viola & cello by Guy Ropartz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canta Libre Chamber Ensemble
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1928 
Date of Recording: 06/2009 
Venue:  Bramble Brook Space 
Length: 12 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Quintet for Flute, String Trio and Harp no 1 by Jean Françaix
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canta Libre Chamber Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; France 
Date of Recording: 06/2009 
Venue:  Bramble Brook Space 
Length: 8 Minutes 54 Secs. 

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