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Density 21.5: Unaccompanied Works For Flute (And Other Instruments)

Findon / Scott / Verses / Nyman / Cullen
Release Date: 01/10/2011 
Label:  Nimbus   Catalog #: 6157   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Andy ScottEdgard VarèseGeoff EalesDavid C. Heath,   ... 
Performer:  Andy Findon
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

An impressive disc … Worth exploring.

Long-standing member of the Michael Nyman Band and one of the UK’s leading session musicians, Andy Findon is known for his versatility and flair. This disc of unaccompanied works demonstrates Findon’s skills on flute, alto flute, piccolo and baritone saxophone, with repertoire ranging from J.S. Bach to world premiere recordings of recently written works.

The opening track, Andy Scott’s KBM is an appealing jazz-style piece which creates a laid-back atmosphere, despite the technical demands on the player. Varèse’s Density 21.5 is the title track of the disc, and is heard here performed on a platinum flute, as the work was originally intended.
Read more The difference in tone between this and the previous work is striking, with the platinum flute possessing a brightness and power that is particularly impressive in the extreme high register. Findon’s playing here is utterly dazzling, with a sense of total commitment to the music. This makes for an emotionally intense performance.

The rich warmth of the baritone sax comes as an enjoyable contrast and Nyman’s Song for Tony is a simple, resonant melody which is later also heard on the flute at the end of the disc. The piece gradually grows in intensity as the music progresses. Geoff Eales’ The 11 th Commandment is a jazz work with an 11/8 time signature, which helps to give it a distinctive character. This is a demanding work which presents numerous challenges to the player. Findon remains in control and full of energy throughout.

No solo flute CD is complete without Bach’s A minor solo sonata, and Findon’s rendition of the opening Allemande is refreshingly simple, avoiding too much rubato and giving the music just enough space to breathe. The Courante is light and sprightly, with well articulated semi-quavers and some enjoyable ornamentations. The Sarabande is haunting and the Bourrée Anglaise is well measured and controlled, with more charming ornamentations. Findon’s personality comes out strongly in this performance and while the interpretation may not be to everyone’s taste, it is refreshing to hear a version of this piece which has such a clear sense of a performer’s musical persona.

A second Andy Scott work, Eighteen for baritone saxophone follows. This is a bubbly piece with some infectious riffs and an impulsive sense of energy throughout. Michael Nyman’s Canzona is heard here in recorded form for the first time too, although it was composed for flute player Clarissa Melville in 1965. This is a charming work which develops to incorporate repeated rhythmic fragments and contrasting moods.

Coltrane is one of Dave Heath’s best known flute works. This is the first time the flute has been recorded on an alto instrument, at the suggestion of the composer, and the result is extremely convincing. Findon has a natural sense of the required style, and the sound of the alto flute brings out the Eastern influences. This is without doubt one of the best renditions of this piece that I have heard.

David Cullen’s Sonata is in three movements, and builds up harmony through the use of arpeggiated figures and repeated intervallic fragments. Cullen is best known as an arranger and orchestrator for theatre, but his compositional skill is not to be ignored. The first movement has the feel of a considered improvisation, with lyrical lines and a sense of organic development. The second movement features rapid articulation in alternation with more flowing melodies, while the final movement is contemplative with some enjoyable twists of phrase. It is played with expression by Findon.

Two other Nyman tracks complete the disc. They are taken from Yamamoto Perpetuo and are convincingly performed on baritone sax and piccolo.

Overall this is an impressive disc which has much to offer, including a good selection of new repertoire. Worth exploring.

-- Carla Rees, MusicWeb International Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
KBM, for flute by Andy Scott
Performer:  Andy Findon (Flute)
Length: 5 Minutes 28 Secs. 
2.
Density 21.5 by Edgard Varèse
Performer:  Andy Findon (Flute)
Written: 1936 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
3.
The 11th Commandment, for flute by Geoff Eales
Performer:  Andy Findon (Flute)
Length: 5 Minutes 35 Secs. 
4.
Eighteen, for baritone saxophone by Andy Scott
Performer:  Andy Findon ()
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
5.
Coltrane, for flute by David C. Heath
Performer:  Andy Findon ()
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 1981 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
6.
Sonata for solo flute by David Cullen
Performer:  Andy Findon (Flute)
Length: 8 Minutes 31 Secs. 
7.
Songs for Tony by Michael Nyman
Performer:  Andy Findon (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
8.
Partita for Flute solo in A minor, BWV 1013 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Andy Findon (Flute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1720s; ?Cöthen, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 38 Secs. 
9.
Canzona, for flute by Michael Nyman
Performer:  Andy Findon (Flute)
Written: 1965 
Length: 6 Minutes 42 Secs. 
10.
Yamamoto Perpetuo for baritone saxophone No. 5 by Michael Nyman
Performer:  Andy Findon ()
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
11.
Yamamoto Perpetuo for piccolo No. 9 by Michael Nyman
Performer:  Andy Findon (Piccolo)
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 

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