Wednesday 26 July 2017

CD Review (The Straits Times, July 2017)

BROTONS Complete Flute Music Vol.1
Centaur 3554 / *****

Salvador Brotons is a well-regarded Catalonian composer who began his musical career as a flautist, playing in various Barcelona orchestras before turning to full-time conducting (he is the Music Director of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) and composition. 

His complete output for the flute will occupy three discs, and the first volume plays like a dream. His two Flute Sonatas (dating from 1979 and 1996), are works for a consummate virtuoso. Although employing dissonance and atonality to a certain extent, these are also very lyrical pieces. The second sonata is also scored as a concerto.

Also equally accessible is Coloured Skies (with harp), Fantasia Concertante (with marimba-vibraphone) and Three Divertimenti (with guitar). The earliest piece El Port De La Selva, written in 1975 as a 16-year-old, is a Catalan dance with a naive charm. 

The Spanish flautist Roberto Alvarez, principal piccolo player of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra is the ideal interpreter, fully attuned to the idiom as well as taking the myriad technical challenges and intricacies in his stride. 

This colourful Spanish production also has vital Singaporean links, with Beatrice Lin (piano), Katryna Tan (harp), Eugene Toh (percussion) and Kevin Loh (guitar) as Alvarez's partners. The recorded sound from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory studio is also excellent.   

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