About this Recording
8.572521 - MUSIC FOR FLUTE AND PERCUSSION, Vol. 2 - LYSIGHT, M. / FARR, G. / ANDONIAN, K. / ABE, K. (Grauwels, Mouradoglou)

Music for Flute and Percussion • 2
Lysight • MacDonald • Farr • Jolivet • Andonian • Király • Janssens • Abe • Devreese • Mertens • Rosauro


As a follow-up to the success of the first volume of Music for Flute and Percussion (Naxos 8.557782), released in 2005, and the immense pleasure I have experienced in my concerts for flute and percussion, I have urged a number of composers to write for this marvellous combination.

Michel Lysight was awarded his first prizes in harmony, counterpoint, fugue, music history, music pedagogy and bassoon, as well as degrees in music theory, chamber music, and conducting at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels, and a first prize for composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Mons. The discovery of musicians such as Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt was essential for the development of his personal musical language and has made him one of the figureheads of the New Consonant Music trend. His compositions include some hundred works, chamber music, orchestra, concertos, vocal, and so on, most of them recorded on CD. His Clarinet Concerto was performed at Moscow in 2005 by Ronald Van Spaendonck and his Concerto for bassoon and string orchestra at the 2008 Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival by Pierre Olivier Martens. He is a professor at the Brussels Royal Conservatoire and was composer-in-residence at the Paris Darius Milhaud Conservatoire in 2008–2009.

This is not a bossa (2003) was originally composed for piano at the request of the Brazilian pianist Antonio Eduardo, who wanted to inspire the writing of new ‘bossas novas’ for his instrument. Michel Lysight has taken up the gauntlet, with a wink at his own country, Belgium, the title evoking the famous painting by Magritte Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe). The version for flute and marimba was made in 2008 for Marc Grauwels and Sarah Mouradoglou and was dedicated to them. The rhythm of the bossa serves as the point of departure, but quite soon changes in rhythm turn this bossa into a piece of surrealism. The abrupt change in tonality carries the development of the melodic ideas. Generally ABA in form, the whole piece is rhythmically based on two leading ostinati (A and B) played on the marimba (or harpsichord or harp). A short coda finds the ostinato of part B coming back to provide the work with a brilliant conclusion.

Payton MacDonald is a composer and performer. As a composer he has created a unique body of work that draws upon his extensive experience with East Indian tabla drumming, American military rudimental drumming, Jazz, European classical music, and the American experimental tradition. He studied music at the University of Michigan and the Eastman School of Music. Further studies include tabla with Bob Becker and Pandit Sharda Sahai. Numerous ensembles have performed his music around the world, including Alarm Will Sound and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Payton MacDonald’s Devil Dance is a short and light encore piece. Elements of Hindustani classical music are present in this piece, though it makes no attempt to replicate that art form. Various hand-drums may be used and in the middle section, as on the present recording, Sarah Mouradoglou sings, with the flautist, producing a colourful “buzzing” sound.

Composer, percussionist—and drag queen—Gareth Farr is an indisputably colourful figure in New Zealand music, and, whether scored for percussion duet or the resources of two large orchestras, his music reflects his personality—bold, brash, or delicate and sensuous, but inevitably, immediately engaging. He was born in Wellington in 1968, studied composition, orchestration and electronic music at Auckland University and was a regular player with the Auckland Philharmonia and the Karlheinz Company. Further study followed at Victoria University, Wellington, where he became known for his exciting compositions, often using the Indonesian gamelan. He played frequently as a member of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra before going to the Eastman School in Rochester, New York, where he took the degree of Master of Music. At 25 he became Chamber Music New Zealand’s youngest composer-in-residence. Since then, his works have been performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Wellington Sinfonia, the New Zealand String Quartet and a variety of other professional musicians. Gareth Farr is recognized as one of New Zealand’s most important composers. His From the Depths Sound the Great Sea Gongs had its première at the NZSO’s Fiftieth Anniversary Gala Concert in March 1997. (Part I of this work was given its première under the baton of Sir Neville Marriner with the NZSO in 1996).

Gareth Farr’s Kembang Suling offers three musical snapshots of Asia:

I. Bali. On the magical island of Bali, flowing gamelan melodies intertwine with the sound of the suling (Balinese bamboo flute) to form rich colourful tapestries. The marimba and flute start out as one, their sounds indistinguishable. Gradually the flute asserts its independence, straying further and further from the marimba melody. An argument ensues—but all is resolved at the climax.

II. Japan. The haunting sounds of the Japanese shakuhachi flute float out over the warm echoes of the rolling landscape.

III. India. Complex rhythms and South Indian scales set the two instruments off in a race to see who can outplay the other. The marimba is set in a three-bar cycle of 5/4 + 5/8 + 5/16 but the flute plays a different cross-rhythm each time, returning to the marimba’s pattern at the end of every cycle.

André Jolivet was born in Montmartre of a father engineer and a mother pianist. From childhood he was attracted by the arts, painting, the theatre and poetry all enthralling him. He studied philosophy, joined the staff of a Teacher’s Training College for primary schoolchildren in Paris and made his way towards music. He learnt to play the cello with Louis Feuillard and it was Father Théodas of the choir of Notre-Dame of Clignancourt who initiated him into the technique of harmony and led him to discover sixteenth- and seventeenth-century polyphony. He was a student of the cubist painter Georges Valmier, who brought him into contact with Paul Le Flem, leading to study with Le Flem of harmony, analysis and composition from 1927 to 1932. With Le Flem Jolivet learnt the discipline of harmony, and discovered Schoenberg and Bartók, for whom he had lasting admiration. He became a student of Edgard Varèse from 1930 to 1933, a period that led to radical change in his approach to music. Jolivet later said, of the teaching of Varèse: ‘Before Varèse I wrote with notes, after Varèse I composed with sounds’. He first came to public attention in 1935 with Mana, a collection of six pieces for piano, ‘the most audacious of his major works’ according to Marc Honegger. This piece also drew the attention of Olivier Messiaen, who devoted a laudatory article to him. In 1936, together with Yves Baudrier, Jean Yves Daniel-Lesur and Olivier Messiaen, he joined in the establishment of Jeune France, a group dedicated to the promotion of new French music and to opposition to abstract and impersonal music. From 1945 to 1959 he was musical director of the Comédie Française and wrote numerous occasional compositions. In 1959 he established in Aix-en-Provence the French Centre of Musical Humanism, a summer venue as a meeting-place for composers, musicians and students, an initiative that, however successful, came to an end through shortage of funds and other support. Between 1959 and 1964 Jolivet served as technical counsellor with the directive of Arts et Lettres. From 1966 to 1970 he was professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire. André Jolivet died suddenly in December 1974, aged 69, after a severe attack of influenza, and was buried in the Paris cemetery of Montmartre (section 27, near Henri Sauguet).

Une Minute Trente was discovered in 1992 by the flautist Pierre-André Valade amongst the composer’s papers. It is an unfinished work, with perhaps the very last bars for flute written by Jolivet. There was no title in the manuscript and the title Une Minute Trente was chosen in agreement with the composer’s daughter, Madame Christine Erlih-Jolivet.

Kevork Andonian is a Canadian-Armenian composer, pianist and music educator, who completed undergraduate studies in composition and piano performance at Carleton University, from which he was awarded the University Medal in Music. He has subsequently pursued graduate studies in theory and composition at the University of Ottawa (M.Mus.) and doctoral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. A versatile composer, he has written for the concert hall and the theatre, as well as for film, video and multimedia productions. He draws his musical inspiration from classical music, jazz and a myriad of world music genres. His works have been performed in Canada, the United States, Europe and Armenia in prestigious concert venues, such as Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio and New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

A Longing For Joy for flute and marimba was completed in 2008 while Andonian was pursuing doctoral studies in music composition at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dedicated to Marc Grauwels and Sarah Mouradoglou, A Longing For Joy musically depicts the need for people to seek fulfilment, happiness and peace. More specifically, the incorporation of Armenian folk idioms alludes to the struggle of the Armenian people to overcome past traumas and to look forward to a brighter, happier future at the same time.

László Király was born in Zalaegerszeg (Hungary) in 1954, and completed his studies at the Ferenc Liszt Conservatory in Budapest in the class of Endre Szervanszky. He went on to work for four years at the Academy for Cinema and Theatre in Budapest. During the year 1980, with a scholarship from the Hungarian State, he was able to gain more in-depth knowledge and experience in Ghent, Belgium. From 1981 to 2004 he was in charge of the musical productions of Hungarian Radio, and since 2005 has devoted himself exclusively to composition.

Miniature is part of a cycle for flute and several instruments (percussion, piano, harpsichord and organ). The twelve Miniatures were composed in 1977, published by Editio Musica Budapest (Four Times Three Miniatures) and recorded by Hungarian Radio. This Miniature provides an introduction to a mysterious ambiance. The work was realized in a minimalistic manner, with a rigorous structure superimposed onto the sonority, and yet avoiding a mathematical composition. On the contrary, it is a ‘mini drama’ of a limited duration of one or two minutes, calling for attentive listening.

Payton MacDonald’s Preludes for flute and marimba are short, abstract, evocative pieces. Each one, as with Prelude No. 1 recorded here, represents a given compositional interest of the composer at the particular time of its composition. They may be performed individually or as a suite.

The Belgian composer and conductor Robert Janssens enjoyed early success, becoming head of the orchestra of Belgian Radio and Television, of the Royal Opera of Wallonia, of the Liège Symphony Orchestra and of the National Orchestra of Belgium. Abroad he has conducted the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Washington Symphony Orchestra, the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and other international orchestras in Europe, China and America as well as at the festivals of Avignon, Sorrento and Colorado. He has helped to train several conductors at the Royal Conservatoire of Brussels, and has also headed the Brussels Academy of Arts and the Mons Royal Conservatoire. A prolific composer, he has written works for orchestra, concertos, cantatas, operas, chamber and ballet music, solo pieces, and music for the theatre. He excels equally in vocal and choral writing. Most of his works are available on CD on the Pavane Records label.

The last two movements of Elisar are from a work dedicated to Marc Grauwels and Sarah Mouradoglou and more specifically to their respective children. Sarah, daughter of Marc Grauwels, and Elie, Sarah Mouradoglou’s son, were both born in 2007. Robert Janssens wrote this piece to celebrate these two births. Hence the title Elisar, formed from the two names Elie and Sarah.

Keiko Abe is a marimba virtuoso who has travelled all over the world popularising the marimba and devoting herself to expanding the instrument’s repertoire. She was rewarded in Japan for these efforts with the Prize for Excellence at the annual Arts Festival sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1968, 1971, 1974 and 1976. She has achieved an acclaimed reputation as a result of her unique performing activities. Her improvisations together with many of the world’s top class musicians have met with particularly high international acclaim. In addition to a number of performances every year in Europe and the United Sates, Keiko Abe is also positively engaged in teaching activities, holding positions as lecturer in the music departments of Toho Gakuen Conservatory and Soai University and as visiting professor at the Utrecht Conservatory, Holland.

The title Mi-chi indicates the different paths which people must tread, and at the same time refers to the path representing the pursuit of cosmic truth in Eastern philosophy. One day Keiko Abe began a performance with a simple melody played with one hand, each note chosen with great care, blossoming naturally into an improvisation. Her spirit flew free, transcending the restrictions of everyday life. This piece is a transcription of Keiko Abe’s performance on that day.

Frédéric Devreese, born in Amsterdam in 1929, is a Belgian conductor and composer of stage, orchestral, chamber, choral and piano works. He has composed four piano concertos, the fourth of which was chosen as the set concerto for the International Queen Elizabeth Competition in 1983. He is most famous, however, for his many memorable film scores, including, for André Delvaux, L’Homme au Crâne Rasé, Un Soir, Un Train, Rendez-vous à Bray, Belle, Benvenuta and L’Oeuvre au Noir. A former conductor for Belgian Radio and Television, Frédéric Devreese has conducted orchestras all over the world. In addition to some ten recordings for Marco Polo and Naxos, he recorded an Anthology of Flemish Music, which brought his nomination as Cultural Ambassador of Flanders in 1996 and 1997.

The basis of Mobile, dedicated to Marc Grauwels and Sarah Mouradoglou, is an ostinato of a broken triphthong or triad in the form of a waltz which the marimba keeps up to the very end for 365 bars. Against this background the flute progresses both melodically and virtuosically. Towards the middle we meet the reverse of the triad, both instruments playing the work in retrograde.

The Belgian composer Wim Mertens is a singer-vocalist, using a carefully crafted language, pianist, guitarist, and musicologist. Since 1980 he has been an international recording and performing artist, giving concerts all over the world. He has composed many pieces in different forms, from short, accessible songs or Lieder to ambitious and complex three- and four-part cycles, and for different performers, piano solo, chamber music ensembles and symphony orchestra. He often writes for unusual instrumental groups such as twelve piccolos, ten bass trombones, thirteen clarinets, and performs also with solo piano, duo, other ensembles and also with symphony orchestra.

For a long time I have always felt like recording Inergys in the version for marimba for four hands and two flutes in remembrance of the numerous tours and recordings in which I was able to collaborate at the beginning of the 1980s as a member of the Wim Mertens ensemble, accompanied by the composer. Amongst the numerous pieces by Wim Mertens that I have played, I have always found that this piece brought incredible pleasure and…energy (Inergys!?) for the musicians and I would hope also for the public. Inergys is taken from the album Vergessen, composed and arranged by Wim Mertens, and published by Usura_& _Usura, 1, 2009.

Ney Rosauro is recognized as one of the most original and dynamic percussionists and composers today. Born in Rio de Janeiro on 24th October 1952, he has taught percussion at the Escola de Musica de Brasilia (1975–1987), the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in South Brazil (1987–2000), and the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, (2000–2009). As a composer, Ney Rosauro has written over fifty pieces for percussion, including several concertos. His compositions are popular worldwide and have been recorded by internationally acclaimed artists such as Evelyn Glennie and the London Symphony Orchestra. His nine solo recordings have been highly acclaimed by the critics.

Farewell Song was originally composed for solo vibraphone and was written in memory of Ney Rosauro’s dear friend José Pedro Boessio. When he heard of the tragic death of his dear friend, he went to the vibraphone and started playing this sad song. He felt as if José Pedro was there with him, singing that lyrical melody and sharing the memories of their times together. The piece was originally written for solo vibraphone but exists in several arrangements including one for marimba and harp and another for vibraphone, accordion and string orchestra.

Marc Grauwels
Translation by Paul de Troyer

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