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Classic FM Magazine

By Andrew Mellor (January 13 2011)

Music for flute and orchestra Katherine Bryan (fl), Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Paul Daniel

The Music
Lowell Liebermann's Flute Concerto was written in 1992 for James Galway. It's tonal, rich and colourful with a dash of Korngold's Hollywood and Shostakovich's Russia - though perhaps more of the former. Contained within is variance and complexity, not least in the tour-de-force finale, Nielsen's classic concerto and an orchestration of Poulenc's Flute Sonata complete the bill.

The Performance
Katherine Bryan became the RSNO's Principal Flute aged just 21 and her clarity of tone - unfettered by intrusive vibrato - easy virtuosity and dynamic sensitivity must have bagged her the job. She plays the Liebermann as if she's considered the direction and purpose of every phrase. Now and then you might crave a little more projection or go-for-broke emotion, but it's technically watertight. Accompanying, Bryan's own orchestra showcases its other talented woodwind players (including the 'other' flutes) and trademark tightness of ensemble. Linn's deep but sharply-focused sound is thrilling, and in the sonata by Poulenc both soloist and orchestra atmospherically release all the mystery associated with the flute.

The Verdict
Like Mozart, I'm not the flute's biggest fan, but this is a recording I'll be keeping: the Liebermann is an exciting discovery; the Poulenc has bags of atmosphere and the combination of Bryan's tone and Linn's engineering mean the Nielsen's a real contender, too.

It has to be Liebermann. Try his two Piano Concertos, played by Stephen Hough on Hyperion (CDA 66966).

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