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."
Young flautist Katherine Bryan is rapidly establishing her place as one of Britain’s bright musical stars of the future. For her second recording on Linn, the in-demand concerto soloist performs a selection of 20th century concertos plus Debussy’s Syrinx and Frank Martin’s Ballade. The Flute Concerto by American composer Christopher Rouse is among his most successful and widely performed works since its debut in 1994. Rouse’s concerto calls for astonishing pyrotechnics for both the flute and the orchestra; Katherine is able to showcase the sheer quality of her technique and her playing.
“Hünteler is playing a Jakob Denner Flute, one of only four to survive, and which was discovered in 1991 in the attic of a house near Nuremberg, where it had lain undisturbed for almost three centuries. And indeed Hünteler elicits beautiful sounds from the instrument.” (Fanfare)
Mozart's fabled Concerto (also better known for its oboe alternative), is perhaps the most famous work and it is played here with extra geniality and authority by Laurence Perkins and the admirable Manchester Camerata. The combination also brings an earthiness and effusive beauty to the charming Michael Haydn Concertino whilst Stamitz's Concerto is also imparted with an irresistible drive and character. Weber's two works, the 'Andante e Rondo Ungarese' and the Concerto in F Major are both representative of the bassoon's tonal capabilities and they receive top-notch performances here.