Dubois • Gaubert, Fauré • Tansman • Poulenc • Sancan • Debussy

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COMPOSERS: Dubois; Faure; Gaubert; Poulenc; Sancan; Debussy; Tansman
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Flute Music of France
WORKS: Works by Dubois, Gaubert, Fauré, Tansman, Poulenc, Sancan & Debussy
PERFORMER: Jeffrey Khaner (flute), Hung Sung (piano)


French composers wrote the most significant flute repertoire of the 20th century, so it’s not surprising that their CD appearances are prolific. Here Canadian Jeffrey Khaner – principal flute with the Philadelphia Orchestra – brings many of them together and instantly comes head to head with Emmanuel Pahud’s Paris disc (EMI). Unlike Pahud, Khaner is not big on drama. More often than not he takes a straight interpretative approach, as in Fauré’s Fantasie, which he plays precisely and in an understated manner. Again, in Gaubert’s delicate Sonata, he forces nothing, leaving the music to speak for itself; he does, however, bask a little in the dream-like first movement.

It pays off. Khaner should transport himself beyond the notes more often, because it’s then that he becomes a master interpreter; this is apparent in the jazz-inflected Sonata by Tansman and Debussy’s Syrinx, which he executes with a perfect sense of nymph-like inquisitiveness. Poulenc’s Sonata and Sancan’s Sonatine are common to both discs. Because the Poulenc is such a central work, comparisons are inevitable. Khaner takes it at a lick, but technically it’s all there, the Cantilena pure and the Presto piercing and exciting. But the extreme top register can have a slight buzziness to it. Not so Pahud, who, by being more expansive, has the time necessary for crystal-clear top notes as well as greater room for milking the drama. But if you want technical wizardry and tight artistic control, then Khaner is your man.


Kate Sherriff