Gramophone

A pupil of former Philharmonia principal flautist Gareth Morris, Celia Redgate has followed in her teacher’s footsteps as a champion of the wooden flute, whose mellow tone was such a familiar voice in British orchestras throughout the first half of the last century. She has devised the present programme to show off the virtues of her chosen instrument, the works having been selected, to quote her own engaging notes, ”for their rich diversity of style and character, and their relevance to a group of English flute players.”

Edward German’s charmingly innocuous Suite of 1889 is inscribed to his flautist friend and fellow RAM alumnus Frederic Griffith, whose sprightly Danse n è gre nestles next to a delicious Etude by Charles Stainer. Stainer in turn taught Gareth Morris, whose exquisite artistry inspired both York Bowen’s 1946 Sonata (along with Arnold Cooke’s Sonatina, the most durable offering here) and Michael Head’s idyllic By the River in Spring (1950). Redgate herself gave the 1979 world premi è re of John Tavener’s Greek Interlude , while her brother Christopher chips in with Three Folk Songs (“Barbara Ellen”, Green Rushes” and “The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies, O!”) that he wrote as a birthday gift for her in 2002.

Suffice to say, Redgate performs all this attractive material with conspicuous flair, grace and discrimination (vibrato is kept within tasteful bounds). I need merely add that Michael Dussek accompanies with the utmost sympathy, and the recorded sound is nicely intimate and beautifully balanced to boot.

—Andrew Achenbach