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Alma Nova


Alma Nova: Debut
Sarajevo Nights [4:04]; Moj Golube [6:46]; Uzeh Djugum I Mastrafu [5:14]; Theme for Carolyn [5:29]; Scott’s Guitar [5:29]; Tapkalica [4:10]; La Nuit Avec PK [7:42]; Jamilla’s Dance [3:49]; Dinner with JD [4:44] Song for Marcus [4:02]
Alma Nova: Jessica Pearce (flute); Almer Imamovic (guitar)
rec. 6, 8 October 2006, LMP Studios, Claremont, California 
ALMA NOVA 5631 [50:19] 
Experience Classicsonline

Alma Nova is a flute and guitar duo comprising Jessica Pearce and Almer Imamovic. It was formed during their studies at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. The folk-influenced music on this disc includes Imamovic’s arrangements of traditional Bosnian works and his own compositions. It is not clear from the sleeve-notes which are which, as there is no individual information about each track other than the listing on the back.

Sarajevo Nights is an upbeat track, with percussive definition and a florid flute melody. This track gives the disc a strong opening, well written for the instruments and allows both players to shine. The playing from both of these performers is idiomatic and immediately demands attention. Moj Golube is a moderately paced ballad with a lyrical melody given well chosen ornamentation. The opening of Uzeh Djugum I Mastrafu is hauntingly beautiful, with rich, dark flute tones heard over tremolo guitar. The mood lightens, and a poised dance follows. Theme for Carolyn moves through several changes of mood, with a simple melody line varied through the use of different accompaniment styles on the guitar. Scott’s Guitar is a beautifully performed solo for guitar, while Tapkalica is another fast, rhythmic track, with repeated melodic patterns building the momentum to a frenzy. La Nuit avec P.K. is another languid guitar solo which develops into a toccata-like dance with a punchy groove. The exotic Jamilla’s Dance has a dance of the seven veils quality to it, with Pearce’s seductive pitch-bends demanding attention. Dinner with JD features multi-tracked flutes in a piece which has a more western pop style - parts of this track reminded me of Kenny G - than the rest of the disc. The Bosnian roots return for the final track, Song for Marcus, in a fast-paced dance, which also features some multi-tracking. 

This is an enjoyable disc which adds an interesting dimension to flute and guitar duo repertoire. These players are clearly passionate about their choice of repertoire, and Pearce makes excellent use of ornamentation in her playing to give a sense of drama to otherwise simple melodic lines. Both players have excellent technical control and they have a wonderful rapport as a duo.

Carla Rees


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