British Flute Concertos
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Cat No: CHAN10718
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 26th March 2012
WorksConcerto for Flute and Wind (orch. John McCabe)
The Magic Flute Dances
Flute Sonata (arr. Lennox Berkeley)
ArtistsEmily Beynon (flute)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Sir Lennox Berkeley was one of the leading British composers of the mid-twentieth century, a Francophile who brought to his music clarity, economy and elegance. His Flute Concerto, composed in 1952 and dedicated to John Francis, displays these qualities in abundance, as well as the lyricism which had become more prominent in his post-war works. It is scored for an orchestra of two oboes, two bassoons, two horns, timpani and strings.
In 1976, Berkeley took on the difficult task of orchestrating the piano part of Poulencís Sonata for Flute and Piano. We know from a diary entry that Berkeley was expecting the task to prove difficult, and perhaps he made the task even more taxing by choosing not to include a harmonic instrument in his orchestral completion. In the end, though, his instruments of choice were used with great ingenuity. For example, in the opening, the piano part is transferred to interlocking clarinets and bassoons, and in the middle section, the greater weight of the piano is replaced first by strings, and then by the full orchestra.
Alwyn was seventy-five years old, and contemplating giving up composition, when he was approached by the English Chamber Orchestra Wind Ensemble to write a piece for it. The work, a Concerto for Flute and Winds, was completed in 1980. In 2006, at the request of the William Alwyn Foundation, John McCabe arranged it for flute and full orchestra, the version included on this disc.
The Magic Flute Dances by Jonathan Dove is based loosely around the opera by Mozart, and was written in response to a commission from The Young Concert Artists Trust and Emily Beynon. The storyline is here explained by Dove: ĎWhat happens to the magic flute at the end of Mozartís opera? Does Tamino give it back to the three ladies? Does it lie in a box, forgotten, at the back of a cupboard? Does it, perhaps, come out and dance, singing to itself about Taminoís adventures? When Emily Beynon asked me for a concerto that had some connection with Mozart, I thought this could be an opportunity to let the flute out of its box.í
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