This is a pleasing collection of French flute music from 1897 (Ravel's student
sonata) through the first half of the 20th Century (Gaubert lived
from 1879 to 1941, but his third sonata here is not dated). It is all elegant,
idiomatic flute music, typically French, and maybe a little cool. Felix
Renggli is a Swiss flautist, pupil of the marvellous Aurele Nicolet,
thoroughly reliable, with a smooth, unruffled tone. He has numerous CDs to
The early Ravel sonata is clearly influenced by Franck & Faure
but a charming concert piece in its own right, well worth reviving. Andre
Caplet was a teacher and friend of Debussy and orchestrated some of his
scores. His songs on Unicorn-Kanchana DKP 9142 (nla)
are delectable and well worth seeking out. Philippe Gaubert
is described as 'father of the French flute school' and was a prolific composer,
also principal conductor at the Paris Opera.
For me, the discovery here is Melanie Bonis (b. 1858) who - like Elisabeth
Lutyens and many other women composers - interrupted her career to concentrate
on bringing up a family, and only returned to composition from about 1900.
Her sonata (1901) is nicely balanced between tradition and openness to
impressionism, light and radiant - worth any flautist's attention.
Clean, clear playing and recording. A valuable exploration of forgotten music
from the recent past. Adequate notes, though print is very small.
Peter Grahame Woolf