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Debussy's Sonata for flute, viola and harp is, of course, his last acknowledged masterwork. Its tinted, shaded introspective message is now more customarily understood, perhaps due to the fact that painting and music combined from early on in the 20th century to enjoy constant acclaim in the concert halls and galleries of Europe and Asia.

The same could easily be suggested in works by certain other composers, but the world has allowed itself to be side-tracked by music critics who consider them out of fashion. Jindrich Feld from Czechslovakia is one such, as Nocturne (London première) for flute and string trio clearly demonstrated. It contains that element of dry wit with darting changes of mood that belong to a handful of composers who, at one time, belonged to Musica Viva, but you need to attend the Prague Spring Festival or purchase their works on some of the Czech record labels for further examples. It also applies to Guy Ropartz and Prelude, Marine, et Chansons in the full Quintet complement that comprises, along with Sue: Jan Schmolck, violin, Gustav Clarkson, viola, John Heley, cello and Christina Rhys, harp.

My congratulations to all of them for such unforgettable musicmaking.

Copyright © 19 May 2005 Bill Newman, Edgware UK


The London Chamber Music Group, which also includes the oboist David Theodore, launched its first CD in October 2004. This unusual combination of flute, oboe, violin, viola, cello and harp provides scope for programmes of Beethoven, Mozart, C P E Bach, Debussy, Ravel, Schubert, and lesser known but very interesting composers such as Ropartz, Roussel, Villa-Lobos, Francaix, Jolivet, Ibert, Jongen and Goossens.

As a young composer, Eugene Goossens (1893-1962) was greatly influenced and inspired by the French impressionist composers of the day, such as Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc. Susan Milan discovered the similarity in Goossens' colourful writing while first performing the Five Impressions of a Holiday and subsequently researched his chamber music, uncovering numerous chamber works ideally suitable for the London Chamber Music Group. Susan has recorded much of the French flute repertoire for Chandos, who were interested to record this interesting English 'impressionist' music.



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