WORKS: Petite suite; Fantaisie-caprice; Flute Sonata; Sonatine for Flute and Clarinet; Alla rustica; Suite en concert for Flute and Percussion
PERFORMER: Anna Noakes (flute), Kathron Sturrock (piano), Gillian Tingay (harp), Leslie Craven (clarinet), Jonathan Barritt (viola), Graham Cole, Kate Eyre, Rachel Gledhill, Gary Kettel (percussion)
CATALOGUE NO: CD DCA 948 DDD
Forget Romantic flutterings and soaring tunes – this disc of six pieces by the French composer Jolivet shows the flute as a conveyor of rampant rhythms, esoteric atmospheres and earthy nuances.
The Petite suite (1941) for flute, harp and viola recalls Debussy in its evocations of hazy summer days, but its rustic gigue and wandering harmonic changes are pure Jolivet. Techniques such as flutter-tonguing and rolling for glissando effect permeate this music and are most effectively used in the substantial Sonata (1958). Noakes and Sturrock give an appropriately savage rendition of ‘Violent’, the final movement.
Suite en concert (1965) is for flute and an array of percussion. Just whack up the volume and listen to those frenzied drum raps, throbbing bongos and snap-happy Chinese blocks. But Jolivet’s subtle, personalised primitivism is not all noise. Noakes is brilliant in the opening movement as she shifts between an in-your-face frenzy one moment and an unearthly magic the next. Her chunky low register suits the angular ‘Stabile’, but it’s the climactic ‘Calme’ where flute and ensemble work best together. Exquisite droplets of percussion textures punctuate a haunting flute line; these grow gradually to build up a unique tension which suddenly tapers off into a poignant vacuum. Beautiful. Kate Sherriff