First recordings of two powerful works from the pen of one of our major composers, John McCabe, who is celebrating his sixtieth birthday this year. Of Time and the River (the title is taken from Thomas Wolfe's novel) is actually the published title of McCabe's Fourth Symphony, written in 1993/4 to a commission by the BBC. The Flute Concerto was written for James Galway in 1989/90 and he gave the first performance of it in 1990 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the London Symphony Orchestra who commissioned the work. Here it is played by the outstanding young flautist Emily Beynon in her first recording for Hyperion.
"The five-movement Flute Concerto...is in part a Gaelic reverie dedicated to the composer's wife but it also embodies a response to one of those "isolated, individual tragedies which serve to sensitize us to the potential harm that man can do to his fellow." ... The composer has cited the work of the Irish singer Enya in connection with this concerto and it is certainly among the more accessible of his works: there's more clear diatonicism than rabid dissonance and plenty of quietly cathartic spiritual affirmation."
Izrael-born Sharon Bezaly (who now lives in Sweden) has rightly risen to the top of her field with silky performances like this one which seemed universally rated highly by the music press (Gramophone, ClassicsToday, etc). Her repertoire extends to many Scandanavian composers who have written several flute concertos for her marvelously refined technique (she was a student of Aurele Nicolet). On this recording she plays a 24k instrument custom-made for her by Muramatsu Japan.