This CD has three united but distinct strings to its bow: it features works by English composers or by those who are honorary Englishmen despite their cross-border connections; it celebrates the achievements and influence of important Royal Academy of Music teachers; and it celebrates the continuing survival of the wooden flute in the twenty-first century.
Celia Redgate (née Pitstow) studied with the late Gareth Morris at the RSAM, where she gained many distinctions. Her career has centred on recital work and chamber music. Sir Edward German Jones’s Suite for flute and piano comes across as distinctly Elgarian, Sir John Tavener’s Greek Interlude could almost pass for English, and the Welshman Frederic Griffith’s Danse Nègre sounds as English as tea and toasted crumpets.
The high points of the CD are, for me, York Bowen’s Sonata and Christopher Redgate’s Three English Folksongs . Christopher, who is married to Celia, is a well-known oboist who doubles on the didgeridoo. He is also, evidently, an accomplished composer, as his inventive and skilfully-wrought folk arrangements demonstrate. Michael Dussek is a first-rate accompanist with a scrupulous ear for balance and ensemble. With all this virtuosity one might expect an embarras de richesses , but not a bit of it! The message of this CD is that simple is beautiful, and that simple can also rustle up a storm to make your hair stand on end. The wooden flute offers good plain country fare, cooked properly, which doesn’t need the whole spice-jar thrown into the stew. Don’t just take my word for it, buy the disc.