Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Maw/Bennett
WORKS: Flute Quartet; Night Thoughts; Roman Canticle/Sonata after Syrinx; Six Tunes for the Instruction of Singing-birds
PERFORMER: Auréole Trio; Mary Nessinger (mezzo-soprano), Curtis Macomber (violin), John Whitfield (cello)
CATALOGUE NO: 3-7355-2
A generously filled CD divided, albeit unequally, between Nicholas Maw and Richard Rodney Bennett. All the Maw pieces come from the Eighties and have been recorded before, though the singer in the rival account of the Roman Canticle is a baritone. Mary Nessinger is a mezzo and well placed in the aural picture. All the performances are highly accomplished and Laura Gilbert in the solo flute piece is virtuosic. So she is in Richard Rodney Bennett’s inventive and delightful Sonata after Syrinx (1985), composed for the same combination as Debussy’s famous sonata, and the solo Six Tunes for the Instruction of Singing-birds (1991). Those who have the ASV recordings of Maw’s fine Flute Quartet – a beautiful piece strongly Gallic in feeling, coupled with the Piano Trio – or the Roman Canticle, which comes with the Ghost Dances, need not make the change, but those with neither should consider this issue. My only grumble is that in the solo pieces, the flute is just a shade too upfront (or forwardly balanced) for these acoustics. There is more space round the players in the ASV recording of the Flute Quartet, which feels a little more relaxed and unhurried. Still, there is nothing wrong with this performance and a lot that is right. Both composers are well served. Robert Layton