Guitar Ronald Muldrow's Enja CD is a tribute to the organ trios of the 1960s. While Muldrow mixes together aspects of Wes Montgomery and Grant Green in his style, organist Mel Rhyne (still best known for his recordings with Montgomery) has made a complete comeback in the 1990s. Drummer Victor Campbell is fine in support. Sometimes this group hangs onto a vamp or groove too long and seems content to copy Jimmy Smith's earlier groups but their jams on standards are generally enjoyable.
The 32 Piano Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven are often referred to as the ‘New Testament’ of the keyboard literature, following on the ‘Old Testament’ of J.S. Bach's 48 preludes and fugues in the Well-Tempered Clavier. Composed over a period of almost three decades, from 1795 to 1822, the sonatas constitute a fascinating panorama of an artistic career which underwent numerous changes – not to say upheavals – but nevertheless remained remarkably consistent.
The pairing of Francis Poulenc and Reynaldo Hahn on this album may seem contrived merely because of biographical parallels between the two men, for their musical approaches and styles are quite different, if not at odds. Poulenc's neo-Classical, self-conscious parodies in the Sinfonietta and the dry, sarcastic wit of the Aubade are a world away from Hahn's pretty, even precious, Romanticism, which is unabashedly on display in La bal de Béatrice d'Este. However, the discerning listener may find in Poulenc streaks of Hahn's pensiveness and languor, which his comic antics never completely conceal; there is in Hahn a buoyant, diatonic tunefulness that is readily found in Poulenc. (Interestingly, some of Poulenc's adaptations of Renaissance music bear a remarkable similarity to Hahn's antique pastiches in this ballet.) Furthermore, their fondness for unusual chamber combinations is striking, and the transition from the Aubade to La bal de Béatrice d'Este is not at all jarring because they both share the charm and ambience of the salon orchestra.
On the evidence of this sensational disc, it seems clear that Sharon Bezaly is a flutist virtually without peer in the world today. The only serious competition for top position comes from Emmanuel Pahud, also a superb artist but one whose discography, fine enough in and of itself, fails to rise to Bezaly's level either in terms of imaginative programming or in its commitment to commissioning and recording worthy new works for the instrument./quote]
Reinecke's work is a musical re-telling of the well-known story of Undine, the water spirit who marries a knight, but is betrayed and takes her revenge on him. Frank Martin's virtuosic Ballade (1939) features an acrobatic flute cadenza, roaming melismas and irrepressible cascades, generating a compelling sense of drama. In 1945, while in exile during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Martinu composed his Flute Sonata, in which the virtues of his distinct musical language are plain to hear - lyrical lines, a rhythmic drive which is both energetic and lively and an effective use of tone colour.