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Sparkle & Wit / Pam Youngblood, Gabriel Bita

Pucihar / Youngblood / Bita
Release Date: 09/25/2012 
Label:  Azica   Catalog #: 71276   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Blaz PuciharBruce StarkMike MowerPierre Max Dubois
Performer:  Pam YoungbloodGabriel Bita
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PUCIHAR Four Little Movements. STARK American Suite for Flute and Piano. MOWER Deviations on the Carnival in Venice. DUBOIS Sonata for Flute and Piano Pam Youngblood (fl); Gabriel Bita (pn) AZICA RECORDS ACD-71276 (59:64)

This is a happy disc that could provide good music for a small gathering. The first piece Read more entitled Four Little Movements is by Blaž Pucihar, a young Slovenian composer, arranger, and accompanist. It was the first piece he wrote for his wife, Ana, who is a flutist. Pucihar often collaborates with jazz harmonica virtuoso Miro Boži so he is very much at home in the jazz idiom, which he uses extremely well in these pieces. The first movement is so jazzy and cheerful that it could make you feel the warmth of sunshine in the midst of a storm. The vivacious Scherzo on track 2 leads into a romantic song and eventually to a jazz finale that relates back to the first movement. Bruce Stark’s 2006 composition, American Suite for Flute and Piano is the major work on this disc. Although the first movement is an obbligato on a square dance tune, the other four movements depict the American landscape from the wonder of a small bird traversing the enormous expanses of the Grand Canyon to the deep darkness of night on the Pacific Ocean. The fourth movement Blue is a requiem for those who died on September 11, 2001. It’s a heavily laden, poignant piece that provides a good background for meditation. Stark follows it with a loving description of a Manhattan morning replete with busses, taxis, and subway exits disgorging crowds of workers. There is a comparable rendition on Centaur Records by flutist Kaori Fujii who plays Hoedown and Canyon slower but Muse and Blue faster than Youngblood. Both flutists play these most interesting pieces with great skill but Youngblood and her collaborative pianist, Gabriel Bita, seem to have a chemistry that binds them closely together and enables them to make music as one entity. Mike Mower is a flutist who composes. His Deviations on the Carnival in Venice is a thoroughly amusing work. The tune is a well-known folk song that Frédéric Chopin used in his Souvenir de Paganini and Giulio Briccialdi made the basis of his flute variations. Mower’s deviations are an irreverent and fun-loving version of this type of piece. He dips the flute into various genres ranging from jazz to blues to salsa, but does not demand improvisation. Pierre Max Dubois (1930-1995) was a pupil of Darius Milhaud. Since his sparkling Sonate is little known outside of France, Youngblood and Bita wanted to introduce its sensual harmonies and exquisite textures to a wider audience. The concluding Rondo demands the highest degree of mastery and the Youngblood-Bita duo respond with a robust display of consummate virtuosity. The sound on this disc is quite clear although there are a few audible breaths from the flutist, but that only serves to remind the listener that there are flesh and blood musicians playing the music.

FANFARE: Maria Nockin
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Works on This Recording

Little Movements (4), Op. 1 by Blaz Pucihar
Performer:  Pam Youngblood (Flute), Gabriel Bita (Piano)
Period: 21st Century 
Written: Slovenia 
American Suite by Bruce Stark
Performer:  Pam Youngblood (Flute), Gabriel Bita (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001; Japan 
Deviations on The Carnival of Venice by Mike Mower
Performer:  Pam Youngblood (Flute), Gabriel Bita (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Sonata for Flute and Piano by Pierre Max Dubois
Performer:  Pam Youngblood (Flute), Gabriel Bita (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 

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