In Concert / Kathleen Battle, Jean-Pierre Rampal

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'With flute obbligato': it used to be a regular feature of concerts and recordings by the great madames of old. If their programmes had been as enterprising as this one, they would not have provoked so readily, if unwittingly, the odious term 'canary-fancier'... The bell-like purity of [Battle's] voice is delightful in itself... Her fluency and evenness, her free production of perfectly steady tone, are all admirable and none too common in the world today (but then, she is generally acknowledged to be one of the leading singers in that world). She is also highly skilled in making effective use of her naturally limited power, as, for instance, when she fills out the tone towards the end of "Sweet Bird" or repeats the words "can you be" in "There's not a swain". The enervated droop of some high sopranos is not for her, and she can turn from mere pleasantness to gaiety, as in some of the Spanish songs...

Among the songs, Roussel's settings of Ronsard for voice and flute without accompaniment make a strong impression: fine two-part writing and perfect for the occasion. Several others are remarkably happy 'finds', including the Bird-song of Michael Head. But musical interest centres on Martinu's Flute Sonata, a marvellous work... Written in a week at Cape Cod in 1945, it has inexhaustible vitality: apparently simple (but never commonplace), and sometimes dizzyingly intricate and diverse in form and reference...

-- Gramophone [9/1994]

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: SONY 53106

  • UPC: 074645310626

  • Label: Sony

  • Composer: Albert Roussel, Bohuslav Martinů, Camille Saint-Saëns, Fernando J. Obradors, George Frideric Handel, Henry Bishop, Henry Purcell, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Michael Head

  • Performer: Jean-Pierre Rampal, John Steele Ritter, Kathleen Battle