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Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), May 2018

Contemporary music is alive and well in innumerable forms and genres, and the flexibility and colorful sonorities of the flute have attracted composers of every style. This collection of beautiful chamber music with flute is performed by award-winning soloist Alice K. Dade and includes four premiere recordings. These take us from Aaron Jay Kernis’s Air, the composer’s ‘love letter in music,’ via the youthful memories of Michael Fine’s Skipping Stones, the Baroque and jazz elements in Noam Elkies’ E Sonata and the breathtaking mountain scenery of Jennifer Margaret Barker’s Na Tri Peathraichan, to the novel and mysterious musical mirroring of Dan Coleman’s Pavanes and Symmetries. © 2018 WFMT (Chicago)

Review Corner, May 2018

The start (Air, for flute and string quartet) of this gentle and pleasant CD is pastoral, the music for a section of narrative from John Boy Walton. Parts are more dramatic, as is the air it describes. It puts you in mind of thermals, steadily rising.

The album shows that contemporary music, particularly for the flute, does not have to be challenging or strident, but can be calming and colourful. Nice late-night music. © 2018 Review Corner Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2018

Four composers working in North America in the second half of the Twentieth century, and in different styles have added to the contemporary flute repertoire. Opening with the lyric Air from Aaron Jay Kernis, it views the instrument as a songbird, the soloist accompanied by a string quartet providing an interesting harmonic backdrop. Since its composition in 1995 for violin, it has appeared in many guises, this being the premiere recording of this recent ‘arrangement’. Known as one of the world’s great record producers, Michael Fine, already in his fifties, began composing to help him cope when it was discovered his wife had cancer. Skipping Stones recalls his happy childhood days, skimming the water with flat stones, the short piece also scored for flute and string quartet. Originally for Baroque flute and harpsichord, Noam Elkies later arranged his Flute Sonata for modern flute and piano, though its Seventeenth century roots are evident in a Bach inspired opening movement, a period left behind in the following slow movement and a jazzy finale. Born in Scotland, but spending part of life in the States, Jennifer Margaret Barker has created a very large portfolio of music, Na Tri Peathraichean (The Three Sisters) being a musical response to three mountain ridges in her native country. Completed in 2000 and scored for flute and piano, it is the most extended score on the disc, the style belonging to the mainstream tonal modernity and is very attractive. It seems to have engendered the disc’s most inspired performance from Alice Dade, the inherent colours so beautifully captured with John Novacek as a sensitive piano partner. Beauty is also the hallmark of Dan Coleman’s Pavanes and Symmetries, originally for flute and string orchestra, but here arranged for piano accompaniment. Maybe a little more space between microphone and flute would have been welcome, but this is an invaluable disc of new woodwind music. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

Records International, February 2018

An attractive recital of tonal ‘contemporary’ music from the late 20th century and early 21st, mostly in world premiere recordings (of these versions at least). Kernis’ Air is a Romantic, highly melodic ‘love letter in music’. Michael Fine’s career in music has been on the other side of the microphones, so to speak, but he started to compose in 2013 as a means of coping with his wife’s serious illness. © 2018 Records International Read complete review

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