RON BIERMAN recommends
Jeffrey Khaner's flute CD on Avie
Avie AV 0004
Jeffrey Khaner has been Principle Flute for the Philadelphia Orchestra
since 1990 and has had an impressive variety of experience with other first-class
orchestras. His technique is marvellous. He uses a fairly wide vibrato with
a bright and liquid tone, close to the opposite end of the spectrum from
the meaty tone of the better known James Galway. Since I do like Galway's
heavier sound in some modern works, there were times when something closer
to it might have worked even better here, but there isn't much room
Pianist Hugh Sung is a match for Khaner's lead, fully supportive
or assertive as required by the music. They perform an outstanding program
of six compositions for flute and piano with a well chosen mix of known
and unknown 20th Century American composers. The pieces are predominantly
romantic in style with an emphasis on attractive, tonal melody. Walter Piston's
Sonata of 1930 is ironically both the oldest and among the most modern
sounding piece. That's fine with me, though perhaps cautionary for
the more exclusively adventurous.
The CD begins with a relatively unknown composer, Eldin Burton. His Sonatina
is delightful entertainment. Try this excerpt from the concluding Allegro
giocoso quasi fandango [listen -- track 3, 1:34-2:19].
Beryl Rubenstein's Sonata is similarly worth reviving with its
cheerful outer sections and melodic middle movement.
Aaron Copland's Duo for Flute and Piano is more serious in
tone, though no less tuneful. It reminds me at times of the wistful solo
flute in the slow movement of Copland's Third Symphony. Although
the Duo was written 25 years later (1971), Copland made use of melodies
from a 1940s sketchbook contemporaneous with the Symphony. Both works are
in his more popular 'American' style. The Sonata of the other reasonably
familiar composer on this disk, Walter Piston, isn't as immediately
attractive, but is typically well constructed and rewards repeated listening.
The two other works in the recital are by relatively young composers
whose talents are earning them numerous commissions and grants. Jennifer
Higdon's Autumn Reflection is appropriately subdued except for a
brief outburst representing seasonal colors. As in the more difficult passages
from each of the pieces, Khaner makes it sound easy.
Lowell Liebermann generates heights of passion among both fans and detractors.
He writes in a highly romantic style immediately attractive to many, but
considered trite pandering by many others. I'll tip my hand by recommending
his Flute and Piccolo Concertos (try Galway on RCA) as among
the best for winds from the last century. The Sonata is in the same style
and appears to be entering the standard repertoire. Khaner's version is
I highly recommend this collection. Khaner is a consistently musical
virtuoso, and this is an exceptionally strong and enjoyable recital.
Copyright © 1 February 2003
Ron Bierman, San Diego, California, USA
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Jeffrey Khaner - american flute music
AV 0004 DDD Stereo NEW RELEASE 69'49" 2002 Jeffrey Khaner
Jeffrey Khaner, flute; Hugh Sung, piano
Eldin Burton: Sonatina (1947); Aaron Copland: Duo (1971); Walter Piston: Sonata (1930); Beryl Rubinstein: Sonata (1941); Lowell Liebermann: Sonata (1988); Jennifer Higdon: Autumn Reflection (1994)
Record Box is Music & Vision's
regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews