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  Linn Records -
  CKD 420
  Rouse, Ibert: Flute concertos - Katherine Bryan
  Christopher Rouse: Flute Concerto (1993)
Jacques Ibert: Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (1934)
Claude Debussy: Syrinx (1913)
Frank Martin: Ballade (1939)

Katherine Bryan
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Jac van Steen
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 6 show all

Reviews: 1

Review by steviev December 21, 2013 (3 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
A 220-hertz buzz starts in the left, center, and right speakers near the end of the second movement of Rouse's concerto and persists throughout the entire ten and a half minutes of the third movement. It returns in just the left front speaker in Debussy's Syrinx and Martin's Ballade. It might be present elsewhere, but I can't be certain. It's audible in all three programmes: multichannel, stereo, and RBCD.

This is utter incompetence and is not acceptable from a supposed audiophile label. And Linn discs are expensive. Phillip Hobbs, who in the booklet admits to having recorded this thing, has embarrassed himself, as have assistant engineer Robert Cammidge and post-production person Julia Thomas. These folks either heard this obvious buzz and decided to ignore it or they have such poor hearing that they didn't notice it. In my own work I make recordings; I monitor them closely and would never let such an obvious flaw persist -- I'd find the source of the problem, in this case most likely an arc across a loose connection or possibly a damaged cable, and fix it, pronto.

If you can overlook such blatant technical incompetence, or your hearing is as lousy as that of Mr. Hobbs et al, I'll tell you that Ms. Bryan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra play with absolute mastery and commitment. I read somewhere that Rouse's concerto is the greatest flute concerto ever written, and I agree. The flute is my least favorite orchestra instrument, and yet I love this work. It's in five movements, slow-fast-slow-fast-slow, and is moving and impressive first note to last. Regardless of your opinion of Mr. Rouse or the flute, you should hear this concerto, though probably from Ms. Bezaly on BIS. Performances of Ibert's concerto and Martin's Ballade are also as good as it gets.

Linn should be giving this disc away for free.


I bought a copy of Bezaly's recording, so I thought I'd report. She's definitely less extrovert than Bryan, smoother, less spotlit, deeper into the orchestra texture. Overall, the BIS isn't as dynamic as the Linn recording, which is a grand spectacular tour de crash-n-boom. And the BIS recording is technically immaculate, as expected. The performances are so different that it's impossible for me to choose one over the other.

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Works: 4  

Claude Debussy - Syrinx, L 129
Jacques Ibert - Flute concerto
Frank Martin - Ballade pour Flûte, Orchestre à cordes et Piano
Christopher Rouse - Flute Concerto