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Song Of The Black Swan / Keeble, Yeung

Farr / Mahoney / Keeble / Cage / Debussy
Release Date: 04/10/2012 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1345   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gareth FarrShafer MahoneyCésar VivancoSusann McDonald and Linda Wood Rollo,   ... 
Performer:  Jonathan KeebleAnn YeungMasumi Per Rostad
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

BLACK SWAN Alethia Duo; Masumi Per Rostad (va) ALBANY 1345 (74:10)

FARR Taheke. MAHONEY Shining River. VIVANCO Fantasia Andina. MCDONALD/ROLLO Haiku. KENNAN Night Soliloquy. THARP Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Chaparral. DEBUSSY Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. CAGE In a Landscape. VILLA-LOBOS O Canto do Cysne Negro. NIELSEN Tagen Letter

Since 2002, flutist Johnathan Keeble and harpist Ann Yeung have been playing together as the Aletheia Duo. Aletheia is a Greek word meaning “truth,” implying sincerity and openness. Since the duo is dedicated to the expansion of the harp’s repertoire, they have premiered a number of works, one of which is Reynold Tharp’s Chaparral, which they commissioned.

New Zealand-born Gareth Farr is one of the leading composers of his nation. Taheke is the Maori word for waterfall, and each of the movements in this piece describes a particular New Zealand cascade. The first is a gentle stream that pours its water precipitously down to another river, the second a secluded torrent often covered by dark overgrowth that expends its power and returns to flowing calmly below. The third gives us a musical picture of the raucous and tumultuous cascades of Whangarei Falls.

Shafer Mahoney has been teaching composition at the Juilliard School since 2006. He wrote Shining River for flute and guitar; the Aletheia Duo commissioned this arrangement from the composer and premiered it. The piece begins with low flute notes that, together with the harp accompaniment, describe the smoothness of the river. The two instruments begin a dialog that tells of the growth of the waterway and its reflection of the glories of sunlight.

César Vivanco has been the principal flutist of the National Orchestra of Peru for the last 38 years. Since the flute in all its variations is vitally important to the music of Peru, Vivanco, who plays both traditional and classical music, is recognized as a national treasure. His Fantasia Andina shows the capabilities of the instrument and the exquisite playing of flutist Keeble.

Susann McDonald and Linda Wood Rollo’s tiny Haiku pieces explore some of the less usual possibilities of the harp. They appear individually between other pieces on the disc and help vary its musical tapestry.

Night Soliloquy is a soothing work by American composer, author, educator, and professor Kent Kennan (1913–2003), who won the Prix de Rome at the age of 23. He wrote the work in 1936 for flute, piano, and strings. Harpist Ann Yeung, who made the arrangement heard here, evokes the contemplative spirit of night as she converses with her partner’s flute.

Reynold Tharp is the nature-loving Californian who wrote Chaparral to honor the late composer and flute teacher John Thow, who died in 2007. His sonorities seem to speak of the wide expanses and huge distances of the American West.

Claude Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, despite having been written many decades before the other pieces, fits well with the theme of the program. The addition of the viola, played by Masumi Per Rostad, adds to the variety of the program, and the playing is beautiful.

Speaking of his piece In a Landscape, John Cage says he wanted to “quiet the mind and make it more receptive to divine influence.” It is an early piece and is certainly different from what he wrote later. In the arrangement of Heitor Villa-Lobos’s O Canto do Cysne Negro for flute and harp, the swan, portrayed by the flute, swims gracefully through the harps ripples with its long neck holding its head high as it disappears into the enveloping fog. Carl Nielsen’s Tagen Letter is an interesting piece that adds breadth to the harp repertoire because it demonstrates the enormous depth of the instrument’s character.

On this disc dedicated to the mystery and natural beauty of the black swan, Yeung and Keeble have chosen a fascinating program that reveals a diversity of repertoire not usually associated with flute and harp. The recording was made during 2010 and 2011 and the sound is quite close to state of the art.

FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

Taheke by Gareth Farr
Performer:  Jonathan Keeble (Flute), Ann Yeung (Harp)
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: New Zealand 
Shining River by Shafer Mahoney
Performer:  Jonathan Keeble (Flute), Ann Yeung (Harp)
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 
Fantasia Andina by César Vivanco
Performer:  Jonathan Keeble (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Peru 
Notes: Fantasía Andina by Peruvian composer César Vivanco Sanchez is a based on the theme El Cóndor Pasa (The condor flies past) written in 1913 by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles and later set by Simon & Garfunkel in their 1970 album, Bridge over Troubled Water. The melody is based on Andean folk music, traditionally performed on the quena (flute) of the Andes in South America. 
Haiku for Harp by Susann McDonald and Linda Wood Rollo
Performer:  Ann Yeung (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Night Soliloquy by Kent Kennan
Performer:  Jonathan Keeble (Flute), Ann Yeung (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Chaparral by Reynold Tharp
Performer:  Ann Yeung (Harp), Jonathan Keeble (Flute)
Period: 20th/21st Centuries 
Written: USA 
Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Ann Yeung (Harp), Jonathan Keeble (Flute), Masumi Per Rostad (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915; France 
In a Landscape by John Cage
Performer:  Ann Yeung (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 
O canto do cisne negro, W 123 by Heitor Villa-Lobos
Performer:  Jonathan Keeble (Flute), Ann Yeung (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Brazil 
Mother, Op. 41: The fog is lifting by Carl Nielsen
Performer:  Jonathan Keeble (Flute), Ann Yeung (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; Denmark 

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