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MP3 Inna Gilmore, Brian Gilmore - Debut

Romantic Flute

11 MP3 Songs in this album (57:51) !
Related styles: Classical: Romantic Era, Instrumental

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Classical Flute and Piano Duo.

During the course of his life, Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) was known as an organ virtuoso, teacher, and composer. He served as the organist of the Cathedral of Saint-Sulpice in Paris for 64 years, gaining a command and understanding of the instrument that would result in the composition of an extensive literature including ten organ symphonies.

Suite for flute and piano, Op. 34 (1898), dedicated to the great pedagogue and flute virtuoso Paul Taffanel, is one composition from a larger body of meticulously crafted chamber works stemming from his early years as professor at the Paris Conservatory. Composed in four contrasting movements, the prelude-like opening is filled with flowing lines, rich harmonies, and refined counterpoint characteristic of the French Romantic tradition. The 2nd movement is a fleeting Scherzo, which is followed by a Romance, a reflective song without words that encases a more intricate central section. The Finale is a vigorous movement culminating in a brilliant virtuoso display in its final pages.

Ukrainian-Soviet composer Reinhold Gliere (1875-1956) blended folk inspiration with Romantic tradition to create a style that established him as a successor to Tchaikovsky and the Russian Five. Composed in 1908, Gliere’s Op.35 is a set of eleven pieces for various instruments and piano. Op. 35, No.1, entitled Melody, is a colorful, lyrical piece whose primary thematic idea makes no less than five appearances. The great charm of this work flows from the radiant blossoming of its theme through an intricate embroidery of counter-melody which accompanies each successive presentation. In its final statement the theme returns to a state of utter simplicity and delicacy.

Howard Hanson (1896-1981) was an important voice in American music as both composer and educator. In the realm of composition, Hanson enriched the American repertoire with numerous fine compositions, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for his Fourth Symphony and eventually becoming the first American to win the coveted Prix de Rome. As an educator, Hanson served as director of the Eastman School of Music for nearly forty years and taught many outstanding American composers.

Serenade Op. 35 was written in 1946 as a proposal of marriage to his bride Elizabeth Margaret Nelson. It is an engaging neo-romantic work whose beautiful, soaring melodies are at times darkened by pervasive undercurrents of dissonance and agitation. The work exists in two versions, both by the composer’s own pen: one for flute, harp and strings and the version present here for flute and piano.

To many music lovers the name Walter Gieseking (1895-1956) evokes the sounds of Debussy and Ravel. His reputation as one of the great pianists of the 20th century, in particular as a highly revered interpreter of the aforementioned composers, precedes him. Beyond his discography, Gieseking has left behind another lesser-known legacy: a handful of well-crafted, tuneful, and moving compositions. Sonatine, composed in 1937, is one of these works.

The work consists of three movements that betray Gieseking’s intimacy (as an interpreter) with the work of other composers and the influence derived from it. The Moderato is overtly French with its lithe, ethereal principal melody and chromatically meandering harmonies. The sensuousness and hushed intensity of this movement immediately beg attention. The 2nd movement is a lighthearted Allegretto whose lilting 6/8 rhythms suggest Gershwin and whose lush harmonies at times imply Rachmaninoff --whose spirit is more fully invoked in the following movement. The final Vivace is a brilliant movement bristling with virtuosity. Of the three primary thematic ideas, the first is light and energetic, while the second and third are marked cantabile legato and dolce cantabile, respectively. Through the interaction of these themes, the colorful romantic and occasionally jazz-like harmonies, and the nearly continuous filigree of passage work, the movement rises and falls, ebbs and flows until a final accelerando brings the work to an exultant close.

Several common threads exist between the Ballade of Frank Martin and Henri Dutilleux’s Sonatine: 1) they are both dramatic single movement conceptions, 2) they are both celebrated masterpieces from the first half of the twentieth century which tax the technical and expressive resources of the soloist to the utmost degree (always for the sake of substance, not spectacle), and 3) the spark which would ignite their composition came in the form of a commission for a compulsory competition piece.

Frank Martin’s Ballade for flute and piano was composed for the first International Geneva Competition in the year 1939. It is from this initial incarnation for flute and piano that a later version was created for flute and orchestra (1941). As its title suggests, the work is a story, a powerful drama that exhibits Martin’s unique harmonic language.

As the piece opens, an atmosphere of uncertainty and foreboding is conjured through a chromatically oscillating motif over stark dissonances in the piano. This germ of an idea builds with a growing sense of agitation and immediacy punctuated by erratic outbursts.

The ensuing vivace is a rather violent machinery destroying everything in its path. Volatile and impulsive, it gives way to a calmer voice marked dolce cantabile. A further development of this new idea leads us to a solo cadenza after which a desolate landscape emerges like a scene after war- a disquieting calmness. As this false sense of tranquility dissipates, the music builds steadily in intensity launching the listener headlong into the brutality of the opening vivace, this time marked by a greater ferocity. Another deceptive glimpse of light rapidly degenerates, erupting into a final frenzied hysteria.

Henri Dutilleux (b. 1916) is one of the most important French composers of the second half of the twentieth century. His deeply personal style integrates influences from Debussy and Ravel to Stravinsky and Bartok into a distinctive voice. Notable works include two symphonies, solo concerti for violin and cello, and chamber music.

Sonatine for Flute and Piano is an early work composed in 1943 for the Paris Conservatory Competition. Its single movement can be divided into several distinct sections, with cadenzas delineating the first and final. The opening allegretto in 7/8 is both mysterious and melodious with the flute and piano often tightly intertwined in an elegant counterpoint. The first cadenza, marked avec fantasie, leads into an expressive andante, a lamentation of exceptional clarity, which expands, builds, and accelerates to climax. The abrupt anime, which follows, is marked by relentless motoric rhythms: at one moment playful, the next barbaric. The aggressive drive is at moments transcended by stretches of lyricism, but frantic, fragmented ideas gradually build to an ecstatic culmination. The emerging flute cadenza carries us into the coda, a final accelerando propelling the work to a dramatic conclusion.

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