American Flute Music

A fine showcase for American flute music and Jeffrey Khaner’s artistry

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American Flute Music

  • Sonatina
  • Duo
  • Sonata for Flute and Piano
  • Sonata for Flute and Piano
  • Autumn Music
  • Sonata for Flute and Piano

Jeffrey Khaner is an excellent flautist (principal flute with the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1990) and his programme‚ though little of it will be familiar to most listeners‚ is an interesting and very entertaining one. How curious that two of the least well­known names here‚ Eldin Burton (1913­79) and Beryl Rubinstein (1898­1952) (the latter a man‚ by the way)‚ should both have been born in America’s deep south but sound as though both had been brought up in France.
Burton’s elegant Sonata has attracted the attention of flautists (it has had at least three recordings) but Rubinstein is totally absent from the catalogue. Any player who programmed his Sonata at the end of a recital would be sure of sending the audience home happy with its wealth of catchy and flowing melodies and its charming humour. The Copland Duo‚ written in his American pastoral manner‚ is far better­known‚ and Khaner is particularly good at the long lines of its rather melancholy slow movement. That sense of line‚ and expert breath control‚ are also useful in the shadowed lyricism of Walter Piston’s fine slow movement; his outer movements demand and receive considerable fleet­footed agility.
The five­minute rhapsody by Jennifer Higdon (b1962) is rather less interesting‚ though it shows off Khaner’s technique‚ but Lowell Liebermann’s recent (1988) Sonata is already becoming part of the standard flute repertory. It demands formidable virtuosity but repays both player and listener with its first movement’s ingenious unification of variety and the expressive urgency as well as the headlong energy of its finale. Hugh Sung is an excellent partner‚ the recording is very clean‚ and although for my taste Khaner uses too much vibrato his technique and musicianship ensure that a very taxing programme is also a very satisfying one.

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