Goossens¥ Dring¥ Rodney Bennett, McGuire, Samuel, Musgrave & Arnold

COMPOSERS: Dring,Goossens,Mcguire,Musgrave & Arnold,Rodney Bennett,Samuel
LABELS: Dutton
ALBUM TITLE: British Music for Flute, Oboe & Piano
WORKS: Works by Goossens, Dring, Rodney Bennett, McGuire, Samuel, Musgrave & Arnold
PERFORMER: Nancy Ruffer (flute), John Anderson (oboe), Helen Crayford (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDLX 7181
Flute, oboe and piano make an attractive if lightweight combination, and the same description applies to this selection of 20th-century British music for it. Eugene Goossens’s Pastorale et Arlequinade has a somewhat pleasing touch of French Impressionism; Madeleine Dring’s Trio is Frenchified more in the pastiching manner of Poulenc; Malcolm Arnold’s Suite Bourgeoise is a recent rediscovery from his student years, with witty parodies of a diverse range of styles including tango, Viennese waltz and big-band music. More up-to-date, though still only from the 1980s, are Richard Rodney Bennett’s characteristically fluent Sounds and Sweet Aires and Rhian Samuel’s purposefully shaped Shadow Dance. The trios are interspersed with two woodwind duos, Edward McGuire’s neatly made Three Dialogues and Thea Musgrave’s quicksilver, partly

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free-time Impromptu.

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The performances are well-turned and responsive to the programme’s varying demands, if occasionally restricted in dynamic range: the Musgrave especially demands more real pianissimos, even in difficult registers. The recordings are acceptable, though in both of the audibly different locations there’s a lack of focus on the piano. Otherwise, my only criticism concerns what is not here: there are trios by, for example, the Romantic Ethel Smyth and the modernist Elisabeth Lutyens which would have expanded the disc’s stylistic variety. Maybe next time? Anthony Burton