COMPOSERS: Blavet,Hotteterre,Leclair,Michel de la Barre,Rameau
WORKS: Works by Leclair, Blavet, Rameau, Michel de la Barre & Hotteterre
PERFORMER: Rachel Brown (flute), Mark Caudle (viol), James Johnstone (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 0544 DDD
French Baroque music is enjoying a revival, and the present issue offers a representative sample of the flute repertoire of the period. The recital begins and ends with a sonata by the violinist/composer Jean-Marie Leclair. In both pieces the flautist Rachel Brown demonstrates an idiomatic and tasteful approach to ornamentation and expressive cantabile alike, and the Rottenburgh-copy flute proves an apt choice for its purity of tone, particularly in the upper register.
By contrast, the tender expression of La Barre’s Sonate l’inconnue and the three pieces from Hotteterre’s Airs et Brunettes are effectively matched by the nasal quality and richer, almost reedy, bass register of the Naust-copy instrument. Additional interest is provided by variety of instrumentation and texture, such as in the harpsichord’s higher profile in Rameau’s Le Forqueray and La Marais, and in La Cupis, where the viol departs from its customary bass function to play in sixths with the flute.
The present group’s enthusiasm is always evident, especially in the exuberant virtuosity of Blavet’s sonata La Vibray or the Giga from Leclair’s G major Sonata, and their musical judgement sounds stylish and appropriate. The recording, though a trifle close, provides an attractive ambience. Nicholas Rast