POULENC Flute Sonata.1, 2 AURIC Aria. Imaginées 1.1, 2 TAILLEFERRE Pastorale.1, 2 Forlane.1, 2 DUREY Sonatine.1, 2 2 Dialogues1 HONEGGER Danse d la chèvre1. Romance.1, 2 MILHAUD Sonatine.1, 2 AURIC/DUREY/HONEGGER/MILHAUD/POULENC/TAILLEFERRE Album des Six2 • Emily Beynon (fl);1 Andrew West (pn)2 • HYPERION CDA67204 (73:25)
This CD, which is definitely Want List material, is urgently recommended to everyone who has even a passing interest in fine flute-playing or works of this period.
Hyperion has enriched the catalogs with far more than its fair share of superb releases, and this is yet another one—long may the enterprising company's run continue! The Welsh-born Emily Beynon, who is currentlyRead more principal flute of Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Orchestra (and whose teachers include the distinguished William Bennett), and pianist Andrew West (whose other recital partners have included Sarah Chang and Ian Bostridge) here present winning performances of the complete music for flute and piano (and for solo flute) by six distinctive composers of the French school (Honegger was actually Swiss) who are likely forever to be united by the term Les Six, apparently coined in January 1920 by Henri Collet. Several of the individual readings easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder alongside classic renditions by artists with longer pedigrees and longer names, among other things. That said, however, this CD's greatest appeal—and it is considerable—is likely to be the fact that it collects all this music in one place. It was surprising to discover that there isn't all that much music for flute and flute with piano—and, more surprising, still, to find that there was room on this CD for all of it plus the charming little collection of solo piano music called Album des Six, in which there are contributions from all of 'em. I suspect I will not be alone among readers when I say that I had heretofore tended to pigeonhole these composers into the period leading up to and encompassing the years of WWII, so it was a revelation to discover that the music spans some 62 years, starting in 1914 and ending—with Auric's Aria—in 1976. This means that some of these works may reasonably be called "contemporary," and indeed some of them are—but they are first and foremost French, although there's precious little here that fits the wispy, floating-cloud, and "Impressionistic" image that that term may imply to some listeners.
A quick check of New Grove reveals (to the extent that one can trust that source) that the works presented here do indeed encompass all that survive; although M7's listings are in several cases "selective" or incomplete, in no case do there appear to be youthful or otherwise unpublished scores that should be included but are not. Outstanding notes by Deborah Mawer are the icing on the musical cake. The sound is close and a bit too reverberant for my taste, but a slight bass-cut helped immeasurably in my personal listening room. This CD, which is definitely Want List material, is urgently recommended to everyone who has even a passing interest in fine flute-playing or works of this period.
Fanfare: John W. Lambert (Review of the original Hyperion release now reissued on Helios) Read less
Works on This Recording
Aria for Flute and Pianoby Georges Auric Performer:
Andrew West (Piano),
Emily Beynon (Flute)
Period: 20th Century Written: 1976; France