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Track(s) taken from CDA66414

Sonata for flute and piano, Op 52


Fenwick Smith (flute), Martin Amlin (piano)
Recording details: June 1989
Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Produced by James Donohue
Engineered by Joel Gordon
Release date: June 1990
Total duration: 12 minutes 44 seconds


‘Entrancing, enthralling, and entertaining … I shall not part with my copy until the Sheriff knocks at the door, and then only grudgingly!’ (American Record Guide)

‘An absolute classic, not only for Koechlin enthusiasts but for lovers of the flute and deft artistry’ (Fanfare, USA)
Opus 52 is Koechlin’s most extended and ambitious work for the flute. His designation ‘Sonata for piano and flute’ acknowledges the substantial role of the piano—much of the first movement requires three staves for Koechlin’s far-reaching chordal progressions. He perhaps felt that his writing taxed the expressive and coloristic resources of the piano, for he briefly contemplated an arrangement of Op 52 for flute and orchestra. In the first two movements, Jan Merry’s ‘restrained emotion’ prevails—each rises only briefly to mezzoforte, and numerous performance indications encourage both players to a maximum of expressive variety within a prevailingly soft dynamic range. The improvisatory yet shapely melodic line, and the luminous harmonies with which the piano supports them, combine in a voice distinctively Koechlin’s own. In the Finale, restraint yields to an exuberant contrapuntal romp which grows out of the interval of a falling fourth. After an interlude recalling the mood of the first movements, the triplet motion steals back in, building this time to a brilliant conclusion. Koechlin dedicated the sonata to the pianist Jeanne Herscher-Clément, who premiered the work with Adolphe Hennebains, professor at the Paris Conservatory.

from notes by Fenwick Smith © 1990

L’Op 52 est l’œuvre la plus ambitieuse de Koechlin pour la flûte. Son titre «Sonate pour piano et flûte» reconnaît le rôle substantiel du piano. Une bonne partie du premier mouvement est écrite sur trois portées permettant à Koechlin des progressions harmoniques avancées. Il devait ressentir que son écriture dépassait les ressources expressives du piano, car il envisagea brièvement une orchestration de l’Op 52 pour flûte et orchestre. Dans les deux premiers mouvements, «l’émotion contenue» dont parle Jan Merry prédomine: de nombreuses indications d’exécution encouragent les deux interprètes à un maximum de variété d’expression à l’intérieur de nuances ne dépassant pas le mezzo forte. L’allure improvisée de la ligne mélodique, et les harmonies lumineuses du piano, sont très caractéristiques de Koechlin. Dans le final, la modération fait place à l’exubérance contrapuntique née d’une quarte descendante. Après un interlude rappelant le climat des premiers mouvements, le rythme de triolet réapparaît, guidant cette fois vers une conclusion brillante. Koechlin dédia la sonate à la pianiste Jeanne Herscher-Clément qui en donna la première avec Adolphe Hennebains, professeur au Conservatoire de Paris.

extrait des notes rédigées par Fenwick Smith © 1990
Français: Anne Rousseau

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