American Record Guide

If you crossed the Muczynski Flute Sonata with Rite of Spring, you’d get a piece much like the sonata Levente Gyöngyösi (b 1975) has writ­ten, but with the nocturnal quality of Prokofieff’s Third Piano Concerto in the jazz-tinged slow movement. The first two movements have cadenzas with plenty of personality, and the third has a fugue. Gert Wilden, Jr’s two and a half piece (2013) offers as much mystery as Gyöngyösi had offered energy and punch, then a contrasting section brims with flowing vigor. Its title comes from the form: in three parts, but the third is less than the other two.

Franco Donatoni’s two pieces titled Nests [sic] are dedicated to Pierre-Yves Artaud and Roberto Fabbriciani, two of the foremost flute players of the avant-garde. They are energetic, busy, and unaccompanied. Woodwind doubler and composer Mike Mower (b 1958) is known for his engaging and jazzy style, here contributing a three-movement sonata to the small literature for piccolo and piano. The German text narrated in The Pied Piper of Hameln is translated in the booklet.

Jan Mikalsen’s dramatic and emphatic 7-minute piece was inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s 1969 novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Derek Charke’s Lachrymose (2006) closes the program with the piccolo transformed to “a heartbreak­ing voice of human fragility” in writing that recalls Baltic composers such as Peteris Vasks.

Natalie Schwaabe is a fantastic, even stun­ning, piccolo and flute player whether produc­ing sound the usual way, flutter tonguing, or singing and playing at the same time. She han­dles all the demands with aplomb and artistic vision. Jan Philip Schulze plays the Dickens out of his parts, which means when you put the two together the result is a program you just have to hear.

—Todd Gorman