Notes and Editorial Reviews
Philippe Gaubert's music is well known to flutists, but to few others, which is a pity because it's lovely. Although we don't generally expect music by flutist/composers, especially French ones, to explore the outer regions of avant-garde expressionism, there's still a big difference between music that's appealing to flutists and music that's just really, really pretty. Gaubert's works fall into the latter category, being attractively impressionistic, graceful, tuneful, and not a note too long. The Trois aquarelles for flute, cello, and piano comprise the most substantial piece on this disc, lasting nearly a quarter hour, and they're so lovely that it's almost painful. Also noteworthy: the sexy little Divertissement grec for two flutes and harp, and the charming Suite in four movements that concludes the disc. But really, if you like any of it, you'll love all of it.
Boston Symphony Orchestra flutist Fenwick Smith plays these pieces with a big, full tone and complete absence of irritating breathiness. In the Divertissement, he and his BSO colleague Jacques Zoon play wooden flutes, and his fellow musicians support him admirably. Pianist Sally Pinkas makes a particularly considerate partner, managing to characterize her playing quite well without overwhelming the flute in climactic passages. The sonics also do full justice to Smith's limpid tone and offer excellent balances between the various performers. Only a few captured breaths here and there point to microphones positioned perhaps a touch too closely, a seemingly ubiquitous failing these days. Still, this is a delightful disc by any standard, and one that works equally well as a light background or as an engaging foreground.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com