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Contemporary Flute Music / Richard Craig

Release Date: 07/12/2011 
Label:  Metier   Catalog #: 28517  
Composer:  Dominik KarskiBrian FerneyhoughEvan JohnsonMalin Bang,   ... 
Performer:  Richard CraigKarin HellqvistPontus Langendorf
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Craig is a master of contemporary techniques and approaches the avant-garde with obvious technical control and clear musical understanding. This disc has much to offer.

Richard Craig is developing a reputation as a leading light in the performance of contemporary music for solo flute. This disc features a series of works, many of which are heard here in their first recording.

Dominik Karski’s Streamforms is a complex piece for bass flute which incorporates percussive sounds and tongue-rams to create a rhythmic groove. This focuses on the physicality of performance and the relationship between the player and the instrument. Using air sounds and a wide variety of contemporary techniques, the music
Read more demonstrates the ‘otherworldly’ characteristics of the bass flute and is a feast for the ears.

Brian Ferneyhough’s new complexity style lends itself well to the flute and the instrument’s range of available sounds. Unity Capsule is demanding and displays a full range of sounds throughout its eleven minute duration. The playing here is convincing and one has the sense of Craig’s passion for the music. The phrasing is musical and well communicated, with a good sense of contrast between the different sections. This is a display of excellent technical virtuosity of which Craig deserves to be proud.

L’art de toucher le clavecin, 2 is a work for piccolo and violin by Evan Johnson. It takes its title from Couperin’s seminal score. The connection with Couperin is not clearly evident from hearing the piece, although the programme notes explain the composer’s intention of creating something of an abstract homage, which particularly looks into the use of surface ornamentation. On this level, the connection can be felt, and Johnson creates some fascinating textures between the two instruments. The combination of piccolo and violin is an undoubtedly squeaky one, but is not without its charms.

Malin BÅng’s alto flute solo, Alpha Waves uses predominantly air and voice sounds in the opening section to create its distinctive resonance. The piece deals with the sleep cycle, travelling through the stages of the cycle in clearly delineated sections.

Salvatore Sciarrino is perhaps the leader in writing for the intimate complexities of an individual instrument. His works for flute make use of intensely quiet effects, such as whistle tones and air sounds. Venere che le grazie la fioriscono for solo flute has the effect of drawing the listener in, towards what feels like the internal sounds of the instrument. The music becomes gradually more frenzied and there is a sense of an inevitable journey which leads towards the final episode of the piece. This is thoroughly gripping and exciting to listen to, and for me, the highlight of the disc.

John Croft’s ...ne l’aura che trema is an atmospheric work for alto flute and electronics. There are some intensely beautiful moments and the electronics are used as an extension of the flute’s sound to create an organic soundscape.

The final work on the disc is Richard Barrett’s Inward for flute and percussion. There is a sense of the exotic here, most notably from the range of percussion used, which includes tabla, temple blocks and a Thai gong. The flute weaves around the percussion with a muted tone colour and the well considered use of a range of contemporary techniques such as whistle tones, tongue-rams and air sounds.

There is no doubt that Richard Craig is a master of contemporary techniques for his instrument. He approaches the avant-garde with an obvious technical control and clear musical understanding, and the music is well communicated. This disc has much to offer in terms of both its repertoire and quality, and there is a pleasing consistency of standards throughout.

-- Carla Rees, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Streamforms by Dominik Karski
Performer:  Richard Craig (Bass Flute)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2003 
Unity Capsule by Brian Ferneyhough
Performer:  Richard Craig (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1975-1976; England 
L’art de toucher le clavecin, 2 by Evan Johnson
Performer:  Richard Craig (Piccolo), Karin Hellqvist (Violin)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2009 
Alpha Waves by Malin Bang
Performer:  Richard Craig (Alto Flute)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2008 
Venere che le grazie la fioriscono by Salvatore Sciarrino
Performer:  Richard Craig (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; Italy 
...ne l’aura che trema by John Croft
Performer:  Richard Craig (Alto Flute)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2007 
Inward by Richard Barrett
Performer:  Richard Craig (Flute), Pontus Langendorf (Percussion)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994-1995 

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