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The iridescent flute

Music for flute and piano by Australian composers


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Related Artists: Neil Fisenden, David Wickham

Catalogue Number: 5060192780437


There’s no shortage of excellent flute works, but a few more by a group of Australian composers won’t harm, especially when they are of the calibre of those on this two-disc charmer from English independent label Stone Records. It features two prodigious talents in Neil Fisenden, principal flute of West Australian Symphony Orchestra and pianist David Wickham, who also lives in WA. Perhaps the gem here is Raymond Hanson’s Sonata for Flute and Piano from 1941. Hanson, who died in 1976, taught and influenced a whole generation of Australian composers but his own works have been neglected. Part of the reason is that his scores only existed in manuscript form in the Sydney Conservatorium, but more likely he was shunned for his opposition to serialism and the prevailing trends of the time. His works are now seeing the light of day. Tall Poppies have released his complete piano works but also composer Geoffrey Allen, who published all the works on this album and has contributed two excellent pieces of his own, has brought some of them to the public notice. Allen’s suite Watercolours proves an admirable companion to the Hanson work on the first disc. Phillip Wilcher’s charming An Idle Voice, a tribute to Ravel’s Pavane, opens the second half. But the pivot is Allen’s Sonata for Flute, with its harmonic hints of Delius, a substantial work in four movements. Some of the works owe a debt to paintings, while Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition inspired May Howlett’s Exhibits with one of its pieces dedicated to Arthur Streeton. The clean and simple lines of Japanese art and ceramics are more the spark for Ann Ghandar’s  Iridescences. Paul Paviour’s Elstow Suite, an affectionate and very English tribute to the village in Bedfordshire where he grew up, round things off nicely. (Limelight)

Neil Fisenden’s performances are outstanding, and he is sensitively accompanied by David Wickham (SA Flute News)

Track listing
  1. Hanson: Sonata for flute and piano, Op.10 – I. Valse lento
  2. Hanson: Sonata for flute and piano, Op.10 – II. Grave
  3. Hanson: Sonata for flute and piano, Op.10 – III. Allegro giocoso
  4. Allen: Watercolours – I. The small rain
  5. Allen: Watercolours – II. Squalls
  6. Allen: Watercolours – III. The princess   and her frog go swimming
  7. Allen: Watercolours – IV. Dew points
  8. Allen: Watercolours – V. Fountains
  9. Allen: Watercolours – VI. Ondine crying
  10. Allen: Watercolours – VII. Floods in winter
  11. Allen: Watercolours – VIII. Well wishing
  12. Allen: Watercolours – IX. All the white horses
  13. Wilcher: Blue glaze – I. Andante espressivo
  14. Wilcher: Blue glaze – II. Andante
  15. Wilcher: Blue glaze – III. Brio
  16. Wilcher: Blue glaze – IV. Allegro
  17. Wilcher: Blue glaze – V. Moderato
  18. Wilcher: An idle voyce
  19. Allen: Sonata for flute and piano, Op.56 – I. Allegro moderato
  20. Allen: Sonata for flute and piano, Op.56 – II. Adagio solenne
  21. Allen: Sonata for flute and piano, Op.56 – III. Allegro scherzando
  22. Allen: Sonata for flute and piano, Op.56 – IV. Moderato
  23. Howlett: Exhibits – I. Mobiles
  24. Howlett: Exhibits – II. Veil VII
  25. Howlett: Exhibits – III. Electric mouse
  26. Howlett: Exhibits – IV. Streeton’s noon
  27. Ghandar: Iridescences – I. Glass birds
  28. Ghandar: Iridescences – II. Transparent crystal
  29. Ghandar: Iridescences – III. Glass flowers
  30. Ghandar: Iridescences – IV. Blue vase
  31. Ghandar: Iridescences – V. Blue fish
  32. Paviour: Elstow suite – I. Passacaglia
  33. Paviour: Elstow suite – II. Meander
  34. Paviour: Elstow suite – III. Scatter-brain