Project Description


Flower Pieces for Flute & Harp
– Roberto Sierra

Naiades Fantasy-Sonata
– William Alwyn

Poem for Flute & Harp
– Nuncio F. Mondello

Sonata da Camera, Opus 42
– Mariius Flothuis

Sonata da Camera for Flute & Harp
– David Noon


Roberto Sierra (b. 1953) wrote his set of ten miniatures, Flower Pieces in 1994. They are short warm and sensuous. Everything breathes a warm and fragrant beauty. A Puerto Rican who studied with Ligeti, Sierra’s music is in this case sensuous and melodic – a near cousin to Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro. Alwyn’s Naiades is designated a Fantasy-Sonata and its ecstatic light-bathed warmth, a degree more sultry than the Sierra, is evidence of Alwyn’s grounding as a professional flautist. Zucker shows the ability to hold wondrously long notes with seemingly endless breath reserves and little aural evidence of gasps of breath. Nuncio F Mondello was better known in America’s jazz band circuit as Toots Mondello. His pensively melancholic Poem shows Mondello’s other face as a classical composer in the warm Ravelian tradition. Marius Flothuis wrote his Sonata da Camera in a Dutch concentration camp in 1943. Its movements are by turns dreamy-warm, slyly jazzy, slow motion Havanaise and evening whimsy. David Noon was a pupil of Davidovsky and Milhaud and has had a most distinguished academic career in the USA. His Sonata da Camera in four movements breaks the sultry-ecstatic mood of the rest of the disc with some lively, rhythmic, good-humoured fun, breaking off only in the long Sarabande for a touching and yearningly nostalgic moment – not at all archaic in its resonance.

“The recording is just gorgeous! Bravo to you and Susan!”

“Captivating collection for a beguiling partnership of flute and harp.
Flautist Laurel Zucker and harpist Susan Jolles play with such beguiling expressivity that every work, no matter how pastoral or exotic it may be, sounds like something special. The music they play here is captivating in all sorts of ways. Roberto Sierra’s Flower Pieces characterise nine species in a series of fragrant vignettes, indepted to perhaps to Debussy and Ravel but graceful depicted and varied in coloration. William Alwyn, a distinguished British flautist when he wasn’t teaching or composing, paints an alluring portrait of the Greek nymphs of lakes in his Naiades Fantasy-Sonata. Flute and harp exult in flowing phrases and graceful interplay. Music lovers in the jazz world know Nuncio F. Mondello as Toots Mondello, a legendary jazz saxophonist. But he also composes on a less syncopated turf, including a Poem for flute and harp that is as vibrantly animated as it is sweetly lyrical.

The disc”s title Sonata da camera, is drawn from works by Dutch composer Marius Flothuis and American composer David Noon. Flothuis composed his Opus 42 in a Nazi concentration camp in the Netherlands in 1943, though the music only hints at despair. Instead, Flothuis emphasises the winsome and enchanting personalities of the flute and harp in four short movements of warm invention. Noon’spiece is a spunky collection with nods to Baroque forms.

‘Zucker shapes everything with lovely gradations of timbre and nuance, and her phrasing keeps the ear mesmerised.’ The harp parts have a shimmering champion in Jolles, who accompanies deftly when she isn’t asserting her place in the musical scheme of things.”

Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone Magazine December 2007 issue (pages A8-9)

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