This fabulous new album, co-produced with Bavarian Radio, presents top German piccolo virtuoso Natalie Schwaabe in an international program of recent works for ‘the screaming twig’ as the instrument is sometimes known in orchestral circles. No screaming here, though the instrument’s upper stratospheric registers are fully exploited – these works are modern and freely composed but will still be attractive to conservative listeners with elements of traditional tonality and jazz and utilizing the middle and lower ranges of the piccolo which can be ethereal and smooth. The range of pieces is wide, from the somber ‘Lachrymose’ for solo piccolo, to the bright and buzzy sonata by Gyöngyosi, and the new setting of The Pied Piper story by Kanefzky.
Natalie Schwaabe was born in Tokyo, grew up in Hong Kong, studied in London and obtained her degree in Munich where she is now based, playing with the prestigious Bavarian Radio Symphony as well as enjoying a busy solo and chamber music career. Her regular partner Jan Philip Schulze is carving out a fine reputation in the new-music field with recordings for several labels, and is sought after to accompany many top vocalists.
- I. Sonata for Piccolo Solo and Piano – I. Allegro vivace (4:37)
- II. Sonata for Piccolo Solo and Piano – II. Largo (4:08)
- III. Sonata for Piccolo Solo and Piano – III. Presto (2:32)
- two and a half piece (8:34)
- I. NIDI: Due pezzi per ottavino – I. à Pierre-Yves Artaud (4:54)
- II. NIDI: Due pezzi per ottavino – II. à Roberto Fabbriciani (4:34)
- I. Sonata for Piccolo and Piano – I. Lively (4:08)
- II. Sonata for Piccolo and Piano – II. Gently (3:38)
- III. Sonata for Piccolo and Piano – III. Fiery (3:13)
- Der Rattenfänger von Hameln (12:07)
- Huit ilium (7:21)
- Lachrymose (7:16)
Gert Wilden, Jr.
Jan Erik Mikalsen
From the outset this outstanding piccoloist presents a chal¬lenging and varied program of 21st-century delights, delivered with impeccable intona¬tion, rhythmic precision, sensitive musician¬ship and finesse. Schwaabe’s fluid control of even the highest notes is dazzling. Utterly brilliant CD.” —Nancy Nourse
This is a striking CD, which is utterly compelling from start to finish. Natalie Schwaabe is worthy of attention, and this, her debut solo CD, serves as a fascinating snapshot of what the piccolo can offer, both in terms of repertoire and expressivity. The quality of musicianship from Natalie Schwaabe and Jan Philip Schulze allows each of the pieces to be presented with a clear communication of expression and emotion, and their technical mastery of the material means that the listener is able to concentrate purely on the musical without technical concerns ever getting in the way.” —Carla Rees
I found the attractive works and the assured playing of Natalie Schwaabe to sustain my interest through an entire CD’s worth of piccolo music. Natalie Schwaabe proves herself herein to be a piccolo player of consummate skill, and pianist Jan Philip Schulze is a most sympathetic and gifted collaborator in the pieces that utilize him. I found the entire CD to be captivating and well-worth exploring, and containing works that will bear up well on repeated listening. Highly recommended to collectors, even to those who might not consider themselves particularly adventurous.” —David DeBoor Canfield
Praise goes to Natalie Schwaabe, an authentic virtuoso of the piccolo, and the pianist Jan Philip Schulze, who manage to make [the programme] stimulating and engaging, with their performances lasting nearly an hour on this recording. Artistic Quality: Excellent. Technical quality; Good-Excellent” —Andrea Bedetti
The soloist Natalie Schwaabe, piccolist and flutist in the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, plays quite captivatingly, brilliantly virtuoso and with perceptible playfulness. She is accompanied by Jan Philip Schulze. This program with modern music for piccolo, or piccolo and piano, is easy listening, providing mostly even really good entertainment.” —Remy Franck
An album featuring the piccolo — known as the screaming twig or Ak47 for its ability to cut through the loudest orchestra — might be something that you never think you’d need, but this is a decent, if idiosyncratic, album. The pieces featured range from the ethereal to the almost-jazz and … there is little to suggest a screaming twig.” —Jeremy Condliffe