Goossens: Three Pictures, Op. 55; Five Impressions of a Holiday, Op. 7; Four Sketches, Op. 5; Suite, Op. 6; Pastorale et Arlequinade, Op. 41

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Goossens
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Three Pictures, Op. 55; Five Impressions of a Holiday, Op. 7; Four Sketches, Op. 5; Suite, Op. 6; Pastorale et Arlequinade, Op. 41
PERFORMER: London Chamber Music Group
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10259
Eugene Goossens was a pioneering conductor of modern music, and some of his own compositions, including an oratorio on the Apocalypse, are ambitious in scope. But this selection of his chamber music including flute consists entirely of sets of modest, conservative, well-crafted miniatures. Three are from 1913-14, when Goossens had left the Royal College and was earning his living as a violinist. Five Impressions of a Holiday for flute, cello and piano are melodious and charming; a Suite for flute, violin and harp shows the undigested influence of Debussy; Four Sketches for flute, violin and piano add a touch of Delius, but tamed for drawing-room consumption. The 1925 Pastorale et Arlequinade for flute, oboe and piano has a little more harmonic spice; Three Pictures for flute and piano from 1935 broaden the range of references to include English folk song, some quintuple time and a rather tentative tango. Susan Milan leads the performances with well-rounded, appropriately French-sounding tone, and the excellent pianist Ian Brown stands out in the stalwart supporting cast. A resonant church acoustic sabotages Goossens’s rare excursions into staccato writing, but all the different instrumental combinations are well balanced. Altogether pleasant, undemanding listening. Anthony Burton

Advertisement