CZECH FLUTE MUSIC • Jeffrey Khaner (fl); Charles Abramovic (pn) • AVIE AV2219 (65: 15)
SCHULHOFF Flute Sonata. FELD Flute Sonata. MARTIN? Flute Sonata No. 1. DVO?ÁK Flute Sonatina in G
These Czech sonatas for flute and piano have faint American connections:Read more Dvo?ák’s Sonatina for (originally) Violin and Piano was written in New York and includes hints of the “New World” Symphony. The Sonatina’s immediate success led him to transcribe it for viola and for flute, and it works equally well in all three versions. Bohuslav Martin? wrote his First Sonata on Cape Cod, but it doesn’t reveal American inspiration, suggesting rather his Czech roots plus a modernist edge he picked up in Paris. Erwin Schulhoff produced a number of works mimicking American jazz, of which this 1927 sonata has only the slightest dusting—the opening piano phrase could be Gershwin. Like all of Schulhoff’s chamber music, it is continually interesting, elegant and sophisticated at one moment, sprightly and surprising at the next. Jind?ich Feld’s only American connection is retroactive: His 1954 Sonata preceded his visiting professorship in the United States.
The performers both have Philadelphia connections: Jeffrey Khaner has been principal flute of the Philadelphia Orchestra for 22 years and is on the faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music; Charles Abramovic is a Curtis graduate and a professor at Temple University. Both have been widely acclaimed as soloists and chamber musicians and are closely involved with new music. Their individual chops are beyond criticism, and they work smoothly together. Perhaps it is churlish of me to suggest that they may be too smooth for some of the music, with Abramovic more accompanist than partner. Even in a few solo passages in the Martin? sonata, his playing is always elegant and jewel-like. This makes for lovely listening, but even flute sonatas can have drama and guts, which we don’t find much of here. Some of this may be due to excessively conservative recorded sound, with the flute well in front of the piano. Khaner’s sublime playing avoids any suggestion of a shriek or an edge, for which he must be praised rather than faulted, but I think the Martin? in particular has more life and spirit to offer than we hear in this performance. The artists’ approach would seem to suit Dvo?ák’s rural ruminations best; Khaner and Abramovic finally add a little extra spice, and the result is wonderful.
You don’t have to be as churlish as I, so you may relax and luxuriate in 65 minutes of lovely music-making.
Wonderful!October 10, 2012By p. mayor (los angeles, CA)See All My Reviews"If you love the combination of flute and piano this is a wonderful recording. Of course most know Dvorak, but the other composers are lesser known and a great surprise."Report Abuse