International Record Review

One of the most richly enjoyable musical experiences of my playing career was performing violin in a small Baroque chamber ensemble with a Baroque flautist, whose original wooden instrument produced a sound of blemishless, mellow purity. While it would be overstating the case to assert that it is impossible to match on a metal flute the amber-toned, oak-aged, ravishing tone that radiates from Celia Redgate’s 1921 Rudall Carte, I can’t think of a single modern player who makes a sound to rival it. Redgate’s mid-range floats by seamlessly as though buoyed aloft on a warm current of air rather than activated by it. Her upper register is completely free of breathy shrillness, and her lower notes are encompassed effortlessly without the slightest sense of ‘reaching down’.

Some of the most enchanting British chamber music ever composed has been touched by the neo-classical charm of late nineteenth-century France, as witness Edward German’s Flute Suite, which sounds for all the world like an evacuee from Debussy’s Petite Suite . Arnold Cooke’s Sonatina has more than a whiff of Claude Arrieu about it, York Bowen’s Flute Sonata is closer to Poulenc, while Stainer’s whistle-stop Étude suggests Godard as its starting-point. The other pieces on the album are more quintessentially ‘English’, including Sir John Tavener’s Greek Interlude , which despite its Mediterranean derivations possesses a meditative, chant-like quality which sounds engagingly Albionesque.

Throughout this generous and musically well-balanced recital Redgate and her endlessly supportive and sensitive accompanist Michael Dussek play with supreme naturalness. Her mellifluous tone and impeccable technique combine to create the perfect vehicle for these endlessly delightful miniatures, while her effortless phrasing and enchanting musical presence completely disarm any sensation of there being an ‘interpreter at work’. Glowingly recorded and played with exemplary taste and skill, this is one of the most distinguished flute discs to have come my way in a long time. More please!

—Julian Haylock