A Song Without Words – The Legacy of Paul Taffanel

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In the late 19th and early 20th century, Paul Taffanel was probably the most influential figure in the world of flute music, as performer and composer, but more so as inspirer, commissioner and supprter of fine works by a multitude of composers; this set contains many of those, most of which, having fallen out of fashion in the modernist 20th century, have never been recorded until now – indeed many have been unperformed for years. A great shame as these are without exception, exquisite and lovely works, beautifully performed. One or two well known pieces are included too. The artists have put an immense amount of dedication into this, their ‘magnum opus’. over 76 minutes on each CD all at less than mid price.

Track Listing

    Paul Taffanel:

  1. Suite in B flat major for harpsichord, HWV448 (13:27)
  2. Christoph von Gluck:

  3. The Dance of the Blessed Spirits (7:05)
  4. Carl Reinecke:

  5. I. Sonata for Flute and Piano, op. 167 − I. Allegro (7:25)
  6. II. Sonata for Flute and Piano, op. 167 − II. Intermezzo: Allegro vivace (4:01)
  7. III. Sonata for Flute and Piano, op. 167 − III. Andante tranquillo (4:33)
  8. IV. Sonata for Flute and Piano, op. 167 − IV. Finale:Allegro molto (7:18)
  9. Fryderyk Chopin:

  10. Nocturne in F sharp, Op. 15, no. 2 (3:43)
  11. Paul Taffanel:

  12. I. Morceaux de lecture a vue − I. Allegretto (1:08)
  13. II. Morceaux de lecture a vue − II. Andantino (1:23)
  14. III. Morceaux de lecture a vue − III. Allegro (1:16)
  15. Alphonse Catherine:

  16. Nocturne for Flute and Piano (3:57)
  17. Gabriel Fauré:

  18. Sicilienne from “Pelleas et Melisande”, o. 78 (3:49)
  19. Gabriel Fauré:

  20. Morceau de Concours (2:37)
  21. Gabriel Fauré:

  22. I. Fantaisie for Flute and Piano, op. 79 − I. Andante (2:10)
  23. II. Fantaisie for Flute and Piano, op. 79 − II. Allegro (3:25)
  24. Jules Mouquet:

  25. Divertissement Grec No. 1 – Lydienne, op, 23 no. 1 (5:55)
  26. Camille Saint-Saëns:

  27. Romance for Cello and Piano, op. 51 (3:58)
  28. Clemence de Grandval:

  29. I. Suite for Flute and Piano − I. Prelude (1:56)
  30. II. Suite for Flute and Piano − II. Scherzo (5:15)
  31. III. Suite for Flute and Piano − III. Menuet (4:39)
  32. IV. Suite for Flute and Piano − IV. Romance (4:38)
  33. V. Suite for Flute and Piano − V. Final (5:21)
  34. Emil Bernard:

  35. Romance for Flute and Piano, op. 33 (7:26)
  36. François Borne:

  37. I. Ballade et Danse des Lutins − I. Ballade (4:01)
  38. II. Ballade et Danse des Lutins − II. Danse (7:17)
  39. Charles Edouard Lefebvre:

  40. I. Deux Pieces pour Flute et Piano, op. 72 − I. Barcarolle melancolique (4:27)
  41. II. Deux Pieces pour Flute et Piano, op. 72 − II. Scherzo (3:14)
  42. Louis Reynard:

  43. Nocturne for Flute and Piano (7:46)
  44. Charles-Wilfred de Beriot:

  45. I. Sonata for Flute and Piano, op. 64 − I. Allegro moderato (8:41)
  46. II. Sonata for Flute and Piano, op. 64 − II. Adagio – Scherzo vivace (6:26)
  47. III. Sonata for Flute and Piano, op. 64 − III. Finale: Allegrissimo (5:30)
  48. Georges Barrère:

  49. Nocturne for Flute and Piano (5:33)
  50. Albert Doyen:

  51. I. Poemes Grecs – Cinq Pieces Breves − I. Nuit des Bergers sur l’Hymette (3:48)
  52. II. Poemes Grecs – Cinq Pieces Breves − II. Le Bois des myrtes (2:35)
  53. III. Poemes Grecs – Cinq Pieces Breves − III. Danse Antique (3:44)
  54. IV. Poemes Grecs – Cinq Pieces Breves − IV. Le Calme de la Mer (4:49)
  55. V. Poemes Grecs – Cinq Pieces Breves − VI. Nymphes et Satyrs (3:43)
  56. Alfred Bruneau:

  57. Romance for Flute and Piano (5:02)
  58. Jacques Durand:

  59. Romance, Op. 7 (4:40)
  60. Albert Franz Doppler:

  61. Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise, op. 26 (13:08)
  62. Camille Saint-Saëns:

  63. Romance for Flute and Piano, op, 37 (7:29)
  64. Charles-Marie Widor:

  65. I. Suite for Flute and Piano, op. 34 − I. Moderato (4:26)
  66. II. Suite for Flute and Piano, op. 34 − II. Scherzo: Allegro vivace (2:48)
  67. III. Suite for Flute and Piano, op. 34 − III. Romance: Andantino (5:38)
  68. IV. Suite for Flute and Piano, op. 34 − IV. Final: Vivace (5:58)
  69. Contemplation (Romance sans parole) (4:48)

Reviews

UK Regional Press

Splendid new 3CD set…. many of these unjustly neglected pieces make a welcome reappearance here.

” —Kevin Bryan
Midwest Record

A real treat for chamber music fans. With each disc packed to the gills with music… a tasty collection from stem to stern.

” —Chris Spector
New Classics

Elegance, expressiveness and sensitivity marked Taffanel’s artistry, and the same qualities can be found in this set… a rich treasury of music… interesting and beautiful pieces.

” —John Pitts
MusicWeb

[Taffanel’s] contribution to flute history was remarkable. Ken Smith’s silky flute tone immediately grabs the attention, This, combined with the sensitive piano playing of Paul Rhodes, makes for an excellent duo. {review praises the performance of each work in turn}. It was interesting to hear this range of well- and less-known pieces form an important era in the flute’s history. Kenneth Smith’s wonderful tone and range of colours is the highlight of the recording, and the musicianship demonstrated by the two artists was a pleasure to experience… an excellent document of Taffanel’s legacy and has much that is worthy of praise.

” —Carla Rees
Tempo

A major publication… A whole world is brought together here which brings up some surprises and some premières. Clearly the two artists have tried throughout the whole programme to imagine the sound-world of Paul Taffanel with respect and precision, moving away if thought necessary from current styles of interpretation. The relevance, the illustrations and the quality of the accompanying booklet extends the tribute.

” —Pascal Gresset
MusicWeb International

Immense pleasure to be obtained here.. the most striking thing is the sheer expertise with which these pieces are composed. The dedicated efforts of Kenneth Smith and Paul Rhodes… present the music at its best. The set would be worthwhile having for the rarity and interest of its contents alone. It is made an essential purchase… by the superb booklet. All beautifully played, recorded and presented.

” —John Sheppard
Fanfare

This massive undertaking is simply a mind-boggling act of selfless dedication from … Kenneth Smith. These are very well-written pieces, tonal and romantic to be sure. The music here covers the entire range of the instruments, from top to bottom, but it does not do so in a flashy or superficial manner. Smith is, quite simply, a superb flutist. Smith keeps you hooked through the whole set. His tone is warm and ingratiating, his technique deceptively flawless (he doesn’t dazzle you except in two or three pieces, but he’s so good that you never notice all the hard work that went into it), and his style thoroughly apropos for the era. Accompanist Paul Rhodes’ consistently lively yet warm playing is the perfect partner for Smith’s flute. You may not want to hear all three CDs at one sitting but I guarantee you’ll want to hear what comes next . It’s that kind of set.

” —Lynn René Bayley
Flute Magazine

It is difficult to overstate the importance, never mind the delicious enjoyability, of this collection. Kenneth Smith’s virtuosity and glorious sound are put to the best use, and Paul Rhodes shows himself to be an ideal chamber music partner. Stunning performance… ravishing… full of surprises…I am running out of superlatives. Flute playing does not get any better than this. For me, this is the recording of the year.

” —Robert Bigio