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Christopher L Chaffee
American Record Guide, July 2010

…flutist Marya Martin deserves the highest praise for putting this together—obtaining grants, commissioning composers, recording the literature with virtuosic skill, and publishing all the scores in a single anthology. Her playing is polished in every aspect. She has dazzling technical skills, a soaring tone, precise intonation (which truly does deserve a compliment, since many flute players constantly play out of tune!) and elegant phrasing. I enjoyed listening to this recital straight thru…

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

Arthur S. Leonard
Leonard Link, May 2010

Eight Visions: A New Anthology for Flute and Piano, by Marya Martin & Colette Valentine. This collection includes music by Kenji Bunch, Paul Moravec, Chen Yi, Tania Leon, Eve Beglarian, David Sanford, Melissa Hui, and Ned Rorem. It is a delightful, relaxing release on the Naxos label…

James Manheim, March 2010

The eight works for flute and piano heard here were all commissioned anew by New Zealand-born American flutist Marya Martin. Individual listeners may have their own preferences about individual pieces, but will likely find a satisfying wholeness to the program that may well relate to its unified point of origin. None of the music involves extended technique on the flute; nor does any, except for a fairly subtle recorded track of the composer’s own altered voice in Eve Beglarian’s I will not be sad in this world, feature electronics. None of the music is particularly radical in conception, and none, with the possible exception of Paul Moravec’s impressionistic Nancye’s Song, could be called neo-anything. Within its focused parameters, the music is delightfully diverse. This is partly due to its representation of the American ethnic mosaic; the Three Bagatelles from China West by Chinese-American composer Chen Yi use Chinese melodies in intriguing ways, sometimes as structural markers rather than as a source of basic melodic material, and Beglarian’s piece is based on a traditional Armenian song. There are attractive and unexpected finds from non-ethnic lines of thinking, as well. Kenji Bunch’s Velocity is a little homage to the so-called Mannheim Rocket figure of the 18th century, and it is inspiring to witness the ongoing creativity of the octogenarian Ned Rorem, whose booklet description of his Four Prayers is almost comically uncommunicative, but who juxtaposes his usual French-inspired idiom with sparser movements in a way that suggests a spiritual dimension. This work plays nicely off of the preceding work, the very minimal Trace of Hong Kong-born Melissa Hui. One may be less convinced by David Sanford’s Klatka Still (try to guess the inspirations for the work before reading the English-only booklet), or for that matter by any of the works praised here, but, with fine engineering at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, this release demonstrates an exemplary relationship between performer and composer(s).

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2010

Born in New Zealand and now living in United States, Marya Martin plays eight commissioned works to add to the sizeable repertoire of 20th century scores for flute and piano. Kenji Bunch opens the disc with the proactive Velocity, the love of arpeggios by eighteenth century composers being his inspiration, but here they are fragmented and often set against one another on the two instruments. Paul Moravec contributed Nancye’s Song, in memory of Marya’s mother, the writing going high on the instrument in a feeling of ecstasy. Derived from folk music, Chen Yi’s Three Bagatelles from China West are contrasting and very likeable, the instruments used in a way unusual to Western ears. Tania Leon’s dance-inspired Alma calls for nimble fingers, with Eve Beglarian’s I will not be sad in this world having the unusual combination of pre-recorded singing voice with the flute used in a haunting counter-melody. We move to jazz as the incentive for David Sanford to compose Klatka Still, some tricky rhythms keeping the music in a light mood and much in contrast to the sombre atmosphere of Trace from the Hong Kong-born American, Melissa Hui. Finally to most instantly recognisable style of Ned Rorem in Four Prayers, a feeling of peace induced by the slow pulse of the opening prayer offset by the more animated second and the crushing piano chords of the third. Peace is again restored in the fourth. Martin’s flute playing is technically outstanding with a silvery tone amplified by the resonant acoustic of the New York recording location. Colette Valantine is a highly responsive partner. Balance between the two is ideal.

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