Images for Flute and Harpadmin2020-08-23T08:43:59+00:00
·Eolienne for Flute and harp Ida Gotkowski ·Cinque piccoli duetti for flute and harp Jean Francaix ·Trois Images for Flute and Harp Theo Smit Sibinga ·Sonatine for flute and harp Victor Frost ·Dances and Variations for flute and harp Katherine Hoover
“In many ways, this collection of works is exactly what one might expect for this instrument pairing. Dreamy, Debussian works harking back to Afternoon of a Faun, are the order of the day here. I must confess that such homage is not a bad thing at all. Mmes. Zucker and Jolles have compiled an ultimate ‘rainy day in the woods’ recital, and it makes a very pleasant hour of listening indeed.”
MUSICWEB International 2006.
“Images is a spectacular addition to the growing list of fine recordings Zucker has produced. With such interesting, captivating works such as Eolienne by Ida Gotkowsky, Cinque piccoli duetti by Jean Francaix, Trois Images by Theo Smit Sibinga, Sonatine by Victor Frost and Katherine Hoover’s Dances and Variations, this recording provides arefreshing survey of 20th century styles of music for flute and harp. The harpistis Susan jolles, who is an admirable partner in the rhythmic and sensitively played harp part.”
THE FLUTE NETWORK 2001
Among the expanding repertory of music for those natural partners, the flute and harp, this short (12 minute) sonata stands out for the originality of its melodic treatment, the surprising harmonic shifts, and its general avoidance of “misty” or “impressionistic” harp sounds.
Frost, born in 1952, suffered the loss of his beloved mother in 1982. He writs that in order to distract himself afterwards he wrote the three movements of the sonata, beginning with the final movement, in October 1982.
The work is sad and resigned rather than angry or grief-stricken. It would almost seem as if Frost intended to work out the implications of a single melodic interval, the falling minor third, long used by composers to represent sighs.
The opening movement, Moderato e deciso, is the least wrapped up in this interval, which becomes all pervasive later. The harp starts with arpeggiated minor chords, with the flute entering hesitantly on individual notes. Finally the flute finds a melody, a descending song in which the minor third and minor descending scale figures are prominent, while the harp plays the Classical-era figuration known as an Alberti bass, but very high in the treble. This seems to inspire the flute to make its melody more Classical sounding, but not entirely so.
The second movement is a brief piece marked Con moto. The listener is working backwards towards the higher pitch of the composer’s own feelings as the three movements were composed in reverse order. In the second movement, the minor third “sighs” become more obsessive. The movement begins with a rapid flute theme that is mostly all an oscillation down and up the minor third, in a tango rhythm, resulting in a sound that is highly reminiscent of the saddest piece by Astor Piazzolla. A contrasting, more lyrical theme (not in tango rhythm) still has the minor thirds.
The third movement Lento is built on a theme that is riddled with the down and up minor third oscillation; the obsession with the musical symbol of sighing is virtually total. If the flute breaks away from it, the harp immediately locks onto it. The work ends on a mood of resignation, which, Frost says, is “borne in consolation rather than despair.”
This is a very striking and memorable addition to the flute and harp repertory that manages to find a fresh and unusual sound.