All of the works on this recording evidence the hallmarks of Martin Amlin's style: a facile flow of elaborate rhythms; a harmonic language rich with the notes that comprise seventh chords; a non-strict usage of tone rows; an honoring of the past through recognizable formal structure and thematic evolution; and a French sensibility that might be described as neo-impressionistic. A student of Nadia Boulanger, Martin Amlin received masters and doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards and has been a resident at Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the MacDowell Colony. A member of the faculty at Boston University, he is also director of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Young Artists Composition Program. A noted pianist as well, he performs the works on this CD with noted artists Leone Buyse and Michael Webster, who have long been advocates of his music.
Here is a recording that at last does justice to the extraordinary music of Hotteterre. Hotteterre's music is surely some of the most lyrical and melodic music ever written for the transverse flute. It some of the first music ever written to feature the instrument. Dupré breathes new life into these three suites, which are both joyous and dark. The color produced by the skilled combination and variance of harpsichord, viola ga gamba, and theorbo playing the continuo part is fantastic. This is a superlative recording, worthy of a price many times what it is. I have heard several recordings of these suites, and this is certainly the best.
Interrelated traditions of keyboard and lute playing that flourished in German-speaking lands in the age immediately predating the invention of music printing have fascinated us ever since our very first encounter with the surviving repertoire that originated from these traditions. Fifteenth-century music for keyboard and plucked stringed instruments is without doubt an exciting area in the early history of European instrumental music, but one paradoxically seldom visited by performers and thus virtually unknown to the wider public. Many pieces are recorded here for the first time, and it is our hope that the present disc may contribute to restoring the remnants of a once flourishing and highly refined art to the place they deserve in the awareness of music lovers.