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Afternoon In Pan's Labyrinth

Debussy / Mouquet / Roussel / Hue / Kinga
Release Date: 03/27/2012 
Label:  Nosag Records   Catalog #: 185   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claude DebussyJules MouquetAlbert RousselGeorges Hüe,   ... 
Performer:  Stefan LindgrenKinga Práda
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

AFTERNOON IN PAN’S LABYRINTH Kinga Práda (fl); Stefan Lindgren (pn) NOSAG 185 (DVD: 64:19)

DEBUSSY Prélude à l’apres-midi d’un faune. Syrinx. MOUQUET La Flûte de Pan. ROUSSEL Pan. HÜE Fantasy. SAGVIK Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Panidül. LINDGREN Pour Invoquer Syrinx. DUTILLEUX Flute Sonatine

Here we have one of those “impressionist” sort of videos where the music serves as a background to visuals. Before watching it, I had assumed that most of the images would be mostly of paintings (Pan, Syrinx, nymphs, nature scenes) with occasional glimpses of the performers, but it turns out to be the other way around. There are only a few images of paintings, whereas most of the time the camera focuses on the flutist and pianist.

Kinga Práda is an excellent flute player. Her tone is pure and liquid, and she has great feeling and a tremendous talent for nuance, but except for those moments when she swings her flute to and fro as she plays (which seems an affectation produced solely for the video), she’s simply not that interesting to watch. She also seems to be struggling with the hot camera lights, her face almost constantly covered with a thin coating of perspiration and her hair looking as if it needs None of Your Frizzness. (During the filming of Roussel’s Pan, her hair is finally, mercifully, pulled up, but apparently someone told her to let it back down because it’s a limp dishrag again for the remainder of the concert.) Stefan Lindgren is a superb accompanist for her, a sensitive, highly musical pianist, but he’s about as exciting to watch as the CPA who prepares your taxes.

All of which makes this production not quite as fine a whole as the sum of its parts. Musically, the only two new numbers here are Stellan Sagvik’s Panidül, an atonal piece that requires Práda to spit into her flute (silly me, I thought ladies never spit!), and Pour Invoquer Syrinx, a modal piece by pianist Lindgren. This work I really enjoy, as he himself plays soft, fluttering tone clusters at the piano, but Práda plays a lovely melody on the flute.

The paintings chosen for the occasional imagery are all very good, and suit the mood of each piece. The problem is, I’d rather see more of the art work and less of the two musicians. Occasionally, the film work seems slightly slowed down, either because of the transfer from the European video system (do they still use PAL?), but after a while I became convinced that this was their attempt at presenting an artsy image. If that were the case, they really should have given us more art by Turner or the French Impressionists and fewer close-ups of Práda perspiring over her flute.

But oh, those performances! They are simply exquisite. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Debussy’s Syrinx or Roussel’s Pan sound as sensuous or as passionately played as they are here. Práda is clearly an outstanding artist worthy of greater exposure, and I wish her well. There is a second disc tray in the box that is empty; the insert says that it is for the Blu-ray version of the disc, which is available separately. But on the back of the insert, you also learn that this concert is also available on a conventional CD. That is what I strongly recommend, and you can order it from nosag.se.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

Prélude ŕ l'aprčs-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Stefan Lindgren (Piano), Kinga Práda (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
La Flute de Pan, Op. 15 by Jules Mouquet
Performer:  Stefan Lindgren (Piano), Kinga Práda (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Syrinx by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Kinga Práda (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913 pub 1927; France 
Joueurs de flűte, Op. 27: 1st movement, Pan by Albert Roussel
Performer:  Stefan Lindgren (Piano), Kinga Práda (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; France 
Fantaisie for Flute and Piano by Georges Hüe
Performer:  Stefan Lindgren (Piano), Kinga Práda (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; France 
Panidül by Stellan Sagvik
Performer:  Stefan Lindgren (Piano), Kinga Práda (Flute)
Pour invoquer Syrinx by Stefan Lindgren
Performer:  Stefan Lindgren (Piano), Kinga Práda (Flute)
Sonatine for Flute and Piano by Henri Dutilleux
Performer:  Stefan Lindgren (Piano), Kinga Práda (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; France 

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