|Ariel by Catherine Handley (flute) & Andrew
Music for flute & piano by composers from 'The Composers of Wales'....there's a variety of music by living composers who live in Wales or are Welsh or have a connection to this beautiful land.
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|Gymnopédies after Erik Satie||Stephen Goss|
|1||Mvt. 1 & 2 Gnossienne 3, Gymnopedie 3||4:50|
|2||Mvt. 3 Gnossienne 2||1:51|
|Night Dances||Lynne Plowman|
|3||Mvt. 1 Fast, dark, playful||3:02|
|4||Mvt. 2 Steady, seductive, playful||4:26|
|5||Mvt. 3 Still||1:36|
|6||Summer to Autumn||Ben Heneghan||5:59|
|7||tango passacaglia||Andrew Wilson-Dickson||6:33|
|Academic Sonata No. 1 (for flute & piano) Op. 1||Ian Lawson|
|Four Portraits from Alice in Wonderland||Mervyn Burtch|
|12||The March Hare||1:15|
|15||The Mad Hatter||1:36|
|16||About the Wind||Enid Luff||6:43|
What better instrument than the flute for Ariel, the mischievous spirit of the air in Shakespeare's Tempest?
There has always been an association of magic with the flute, and as for a creature of the air, what other instrument could conjure him up so well? Thus in this eclectic collection of music for flute by living Welsh composers, an emphasis on the magical, the wild, the dance-like, the mysterious, is hardly by chance.
It is the latter that is evident in Stephen Goss's re-workings (2003) of Satie's famous Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes. The transformations the originals have undergone (especially the last) emphasise their languorous dance-like qualities.
Stephen Goss (b 1964) is originally from Carmarthenshire and is currently senior lecturer and Head of Composition at the University of Surrey. The wildness of the flute is the starting point for Lynne Plowman's Night Dances, music commissioned in 2002 by the Stratford English Music Festival: 'The overall shape of the piece suggests a wild, intoxicating night-time dance, followed by a gradual uncoiling of energy, as the night is gradually overwhelmed by sleep.
Lynne Plowman (b 1969) settled in Wales after taking her degree course at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Her two recent operas (Gwyneth and the Green Knight (2002) and The House of the Gods (2006)) have much enhanced her growing reputation.
A much gentler harmonic language pervades Summer to Autumn (2006) by Ben Heneghan (b 1957), its languid surface evoking a transition from the perturbations of late summer to weather 'infused with that Japanese mood known as aware: "an awareness" (as Wikipedia puts it) "of the transience of things, and a gentle sadness at their passing".' Heneghan has been in partnership with Lawson in the production of music for the film and TV industries since 1980.
Dance emerges again as an element of the mischievous Ariel spirit in Andrew Wilson-Dickson's tango passacaglia (2002/6). This started as a piece for a tango band, but has been arranged for violin and piano as well as for flute. Wilson-Dickson (b 1946) honours Piazolla's debt to Bach by embedding the theme of the Passacaglia and Fugue for organ (BWV 582) from start to finish.
Rhian Samuel, born in 1944 and originally from Aberdare, acquired connections with the USA before her current post of Professor of Music at City University, London. The creative concept of Ariel (1988) is a dialogue between the two instruments, with a carefully controlled and shaped evolution towards an aggressive dance and subsequent cadenza. 'As it attempts to return to its earlier lyricism, the piano, ever patient, gently joins in, supporting the dying melody. The flute is too exhausted to protest.
The Academic Sonata of Ian Lawson (b 1955) belies its forbidding title, which is only to indicate that it was written as early as 1977 while the composer was a student at Cardiff University. The music is remarkable for its technical assurance and colourful inventiveness. Once again, dance comes to the fore, especially in the last movement.
Mervyn Burtch (b 1929) has quantities of chamber music to his name, which reveal his inclination either for energetic and dance-like music of shifting metres, or for dark and lyrical melancholy. His four portraits for solo flute of characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice books mostly inhabit the former world. Three were written in 1982 as a musically unrelated offshoot of his children's opera Alice in Wonderland. The portrait of Alice was added in 1993.
In Enid Luff's About the Wind (2006) the connection of the flute and air is at its most literal. Here is a virtuosic and wild evocation of the wind, 'itself a musical instrument when it whistles through cracks, lashes rain onto windows...' The harmonic language of the piece is typically acerbic and unpredictable and the mood capricious. The composer (b 1935), a pupil of Lutyens and Donatoni, worked in London and Birmingham before moving to Cardiff.
All the composers on this disc are members of Cyfansoddwyr Cymru-Composers of Wales, an organisation seeking to promote the work of its members through performances, workshops, recordings and other activities.
Catherine Handley is based in South Wales. She studied the flute with Gareth Morris at the Royal Academy of Music where she received a special prize for woodwind playing and completed her training at the National Centre for Orchestral Studies. Her playing career of orchestral and chamber music is varied. She plays principal flute with the Welsh Sinfonia, Orchestra West and the West of England Philharmonic Orchestra and has played with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Concert, Royal Philharmonic and English Symphony Orchestras and also the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Festivals and chamber music recitals, including flute and harp duos and wind quintets, have taken Catherine all over the UK and Ireland. She combines her playing with educational work and is a professor of flute at the Junior Department of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has recorded for HTV, BBC and ABC Radio in Australia and is a score-reader for BBC Classical Music productions.
|Telephone||077 1128 0329|
|Booking||Available for Concerto performances, chamber concerts, recitals, festivals & weddings and as a freelance / session flautist for public & private events & recordings. Classical / Contemporary / Folk & Jazz.|
|Teaching||Abergavenny based private teaching practice - flute for all standards & all ages.|
|Other Ensembles||The Welsh Sinfonia, West of England Philharmonic Orchestra, Syrinx wind quintet, Folk Duo with Huw Chidgey|
|Artists Web Sites|
Andrew Wilson-Dickson is a composer, pianist and conductor (as well as author, teacher and string-player). During his four years at Cambridge University he studied piano with John Lill and then the organ at York University with Nicholas Danby and Francis Jackson, at the same time holding the post of organ scholar at York Minster. At York University he was one of the first students there to study for a D Phil in Composition, his main teacher being David Blake.
Andrew's compositions have been played (and broadcast) by many wellknown artists such as Peter Lawson, Andrew Ball, Julian Jacobson (piano), Nancy Ruffer (flute), John Wallace (trumpet), Susanne Stanzeleit, Madeleine Mitchell (violin), (piano) Kevin Bowyer (organ), and by ensembles such as Lontano, the Wallace Collection and the Medici String Quartet (who played his string quartet commissioned by the BBC). He has written several operas and musicals. He won the Bournemouth-Parry International Festival composition prize with a piece (Psalm 29) which toured Australia in 2004 sung by the Sydney Chamber Choir. He is particularly interested in writing for early instruments, exemplified by recent commissions from Fretwork and Charivari Agréable. A significant part of his composing output is music for Christian Church worship: about 30 congregational psalm-settings, several hymn-tunes, cantatas and instrumental pieces based on liturgical tunes. He is at present chair of Composers of Wales.
In 1984 Andrew came to Wales to work at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he has sustained a busy career as teacher, player and composer. The RWCMD made him an Honorary Fellow in 2005. He now freelances, playing piano and continuo harpsichord for concerts all over the UK and abroad, including festivals in Buxton, Tudeley, Swansea, Lower Machen, the Gower, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the York Late Music Festival. He plays regularly for the contemporary music ensemble PM, for Trio 114 (clarinet, cello, piano) and for the period instrument group L'Indiscret. In association with the mezzo-soprano Buddug Verona James, Andrew has been musical director for Castradiva (with over 40 performances) and several other shows. The latest, A Knife at the Opera, is due for its premiere in February 2006.
About 12 years ago Andrew founded Early Music Wales, an organisation to encourage early music activity in the Principality. Part of this is the Welsh Baroque Orchestra, a professional ensemble of period instruments which he directs and which has won funding from the Welsh Assembly and then from the Arts Council of Wales. As well as a busy programme of concerts around Wales, the orchestra performed at the prestigious Varazdin Baroque Evenings in northern Croatia and has plans to give concerts in Reims. Andrew also conducts the Welsh Camerata, a choir specialising in baroque and renaissance music.
Andrew is also an author: his 'Story of Christian Music' is a symptom of his deep involvement for many years in church music. It has sold worldwide, in a dozen European and Far Eastern languages.
|Artists web site||www.wilson-dickson.co.uk|