Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited
by Fred Flaxman

©2013 by Fred Flaxman

Program 218
"20th Century Flute Favorites"

MUSIC: opening of: Howard Blake: Flute Concerto, Op. 493a, performed by flutist Jaime Martin with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields conducted by Sir Neville Marriner [PentaTone Classics Super Audio CD PTC5186506, Track 1] [under the following]

Hello and welcome to another hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m Fred Flaxman, and the next 60 minutes of music were inspired by the almost simultaneous release of three compact discs from three different companies, each featuring wonderful, tuneful, romantic 20th Century pieces for flute. Two of the three were compact discoveries for me and I’m absolutely delighted to share them with you.

The one you hear in the background is the beginning of the first movement of the Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra by the English composer, Howard Blake. This immediately appealing work was written in 1996. We’ll hear it a bit later.

MUSIC: fades out

The final piece in this hour will be the Flute Sonata by Francis Poulenc. It was written in 1956-1957.

But let’s begin with the Suite Antique by another living English composer, John Rutter, who is known mainly for his choral works. It was written in 1979 and is in six movements: Prelude, Ostinato, Aria, A Jazz Waltz, Chanson, and Rondeau.

When you hear this piece, you may find it surprising that it is one of three pieces on a 2013 Naxos release called “Harpsichord Concertos.” That’s because, as the liner notes admit, it “might well be considered as more of a concerto for flute than for harpsichord.” In any case the elegant background presence of the harpsichord gives the music a distinctive sound.  What the liner notes don’t say is that the composer didn’t call this a concerto at all. He called it Suite Antique, which is just what it is.

In any case, I’m very happy to have this wonderful recording with flutist John McMurtery, harpsichordist Christopher D. Lewis, and the West Side Chamber Orchestra conducted by Kevin Mallon.

MUSIC: John Rutter: Suite Antique performed by the West SIde Chamber Orchestra conducted by Kevin Mallon with flutist John McMurtery and harpsichordist Christopher D. Lewis [Naxos 8.573146, tracks 1-6] [20:11]

John Rutter’s Suite Antique performed by the West SIde Chamber Orchestra conducted by Kevin Mallon with flutist John McMurtery and harpsichordist Christopher D. Lewis.

You are listening to “20th Century Flute Favorites” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

Next let’s explore Howard Blake’s Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra, Opus 493a. It was composed in 1996.

Blake was born in London, England, in 1938. His Opus 493 Flute Concerto is one of more than 650 works, the most successful so far being his soundtrack for the 1982 TV film, The Snowman. It includes a song called “Walking in the Air,” which became very popular. But he is increasingly recognized for his classical works, including concertos, oratorios, ballets, operas, and many instrumental pieces. He has also been very successful as a pianist and conductor.

The 2013 PentaTone Classics hybrid multichannel super audio CD that we’re going to sample next starts with Blake’s Flute Concerto, but also contains his clarinet and bassoon concertos and his Serenade for Wind Octet. We hear the Flute Concerto now as performed by flutist Jaime Martin with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields conducted by SIr Neville Marriner.

MUSIC: Howard Blake: Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra, Op.  493a performed by flutist Jaime Martin with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields conducted by Sir Neville Marriner [PentaTone Classics PTC 5186506, Tracks 1-4]

Howard Blake’s Flute Concerto. The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields was conducted by Sir Neville Marriner. Jaime Martin was the flutist on this PentaTone Classics release from 2013.

You are listening to “20th Century Flute Favorites” on this hour of Compact Discoveries. I’m your guide, Fred Flaxman.

[optional 60-second break not included in the total timing of this program]

The final work on this hour is Francis Poulenc’s Flute Sonata, which was written in 1956-1957. It is from a 2013 multi-channel stereo super audio BIS release called “Great Works for Flute and Orchestra,” featuring Sharon Bezaly as the soloist with the Residentie Orkest den Haag conducted by Neeme Järvi.

The Flute Sonata was originally composed for flute and piano on a commission from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation. It was first performed at the Strasbourg Festival in June 1957 by Jean-Pierre Rampal with the composer at the piano. At the request of Rampal’s pupil, James Galway, the English composer Lennox Berkeley made a symphonic orchestration of the piece, and that is what we’ll listen to now.

MUSIC: Poulenc: Flute Sonata, performed Sharon Bezaly as the soloist with the  Residentie Orkest den Haag conducted by Neeme Järvi [BIS 1679, Tracks 9, 10, and 11]

The Flute Sonata by Francis Poulenc as orchestrated by Lennox Berkeley and performed by Sharon Bezaly with the Residentie Orkest den Haag conducted by Neeme Järvi.

That concludes this hour of Compact Discoveries, which I devoted to “20th Century Flute Favorites.” I hope you enjoyed the music.

If you missed any of this program or would like to hear it again, go to compactdiscoveries.com on the internet, where you’ll find links to stream Compact Discoveries programs on demand without charge. You’ll also find information on every recording used in every program. This is program number 218.

I enjoy hearing from listeners from all over the United States and the world beyond, where these program are carried 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the SKY.FM internet radio service.  You can also contact me through the Compact Discoveries website or you can simply e-mail me at fred@compactdiscoveries.com. I’m Fred Flaxman. Many thanks for listening!

ANNOUNCER (Steve Jencks): Compact Discoveries is made possible in part by the financial support of Isabel and Marvin Leibowitz, and an anonymous donor from Palm Beach, Florida. And by contributions to local public radio stations by listeners like you. Thank you!

Program Ends at 57:00