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Chamber Music - French Flute Quintets (2009)

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Chamber Music - French Flute Quintets (2009)

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Marcel Tournier
Suite, Op. 34
1.   		I. Soir 00:03:26
2.   		II. Danse 00:02:01
3.   		III. Lied 00:03:22
4.   		IV. Fete 00:04:48
Florent  Schmitt
Suite en rocaille, Op. 84
5.   		I. Sans hate 00:03:40
6.   		II. Anime 00:03:49
7.   		III. Sans lenteur 00:03:38
8.   		IV. Vif 00:02:31
Gabriel Pierné
Variations libres et final, Op. 51
9.   		Variations libres et final, Op. 51 00:10:52
Jean Françaix
Quintet for Flute, Harp and String Trio
10.   		I. Andante tranquillo 00:02:27
11.   		II. Scherzo 00:02:30
12.   		III. Andante 00:02:40
13.   		IV. Rondo 00:01:30
Albert  Roussel
Serenade, Op. 30
14.   		I. Allegro 00:04:32
15.   		II. Andante 00:06:55
16.   		III. Presto 00:04:26

Mirage Quintet:
Robert Aitken - flute
Erica Goodman - harp
Jacques Israelievitch - violin
Teng Li - viola
Winona Zelenka - cello


The five composers on this disc share the clarity and refinement, brio and wit, and subtle sensuality that permeate French music in the early years of the twentieth century. Each found in literature, the visual arts and the music of Debussy and Ravel touchstones for their own compositions, while expressing their individual personalities. Refinement and pellucid textures characterise Tournier’s Suite; vigour, elegance and passion Schmitt’s. Françaix’s Quintet, much-loved for its charm and delicacy, matches Roussel’s neo-classical Serenade and complements Pierné’s virtuosic and translucently scored Variations. --- naxos.com


Here are five late-19th- and early-20th-century French composers gathered together to illustrate what the booklet-note so rightly calls an “emancipation from Germanic cultural values”. Sharply individual, all five none the less show a “clarity and refinement, brio and wit, and subtle sensuality” that are inimitably Gallic.

They also pay unmistakable tribute to Debussy and Ravel. The influence of Prélude à L’après-midi d’une faune hangs heavily over Tournier’s Suite, most notably in the opening Soir: Calme et expressif. There is an exotic twist to the Lied: Assez lent, avec mélancolie reflecting Debussy’s fascination with the East but it says much for Tournier that he maintains his own voice and character. Florent Schmitt, who studied with Fauré, also shows a fleeting love of the Orient before continuing with a gracefully flowing Minuet and whirlwind finale. Pierné (whose Variations for solo piano were greatly admired by Cortot) sounds a more substantial note with much restrained but demanding virtuosity in his finale, while Françaix closes his characteristically piquant Quintet with a Rondo based on the folksong “Savez-vous planter les choux?” and a touch of outrageousness.

Finally Roussel and a more astringent modernist style, including a flourish from the harp like a sudden cascade of stardust in the central Andante and some ghostly glissandi behind the final Presto’s hyperactivity. All this alternately thoughtful and exuberant music is played with great care and authority by the Mirage Quintet who never mistake a term such as animé for fast. Brilliantly alive to their challenge, they have been well recorded. --- Bryce Morrison, gramophone.co.uk

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