Classical works for Flute, Bassoon and Piano
Some fairly remote corners of the repertoire are explored here. Since very few composers of stature have written for this particular combination, these young Japanese players (all of whom pursued their studies partly in Europe) have had to have recourse to works by executant musicians writing material for their own instruments—which tips the balance in favour of technical display rather than musical profundity. The sonata by Devienne (who was a virtuoso on both flute and bassoon, an unusual doubling) exerts some charm by its melodiousness and grace; the fantasia on airs from Norma (inevitably beginning with ''Casta diva'') by the bassoonist Eugene Jancourt abounds in brilliant passage-work, including some hair-raising octave-unison fireworks executed here with astonishing precision by the two wind players; the variations by the obscure French oboist Edouard Sabon—which prove to be on The bluebells of Scotland, though the sleeve-note writer doesn't know this—are of the unsophisticated theme varie type still beloved by old-fashioned brass soloists, and are saved from banality by a number of unexpected sidesteps of tonality; and the Czerny Fantasia is a curiously discursive multi-thematic work which gives all three players (but especially the pianist) an opportunity to show their mettle.
The bassoonist (who is principal in the orchestra at La Monnaie) is an outstanding player; the pianist, who provides a model of discreet support in the Devienne, comes triumphantly into her own in the Czerny; and the flautist is extremely agile, though marginally flat at the start of the Norma fantasia. The very forward recording is acceptable, if a trifle unresonant; but my copy had its share of crackles, and there was a trace of unsteadiness in the piano tone at the opening of the Jancourt.'