Review by Danny Gaisin
There has only been a very few occasions where this blog has critiqued a record or disc, and – admission – those were performed by the writer’s personal bias. “Serenades & Sonatas for Flute & Harp” with Suzanne Shulman & Erica Goodman is something special. Both musicians are the “A” team of their respective instruments. Shulman is the flautist, and for Jeopardy® aficionados, the flute is also called an ‘aerophone! Goodman is the harpist with the Hamilton Philharmonic and thus has previously received positive commentary by us.
The program opens with Vaughan Williams ‘Greensleeves’ fantasia performed by Shulman.
* We find it difficult NOT to hum along with the ephemeral and tasteful reading of this familiar work. Their rendering of what (in my day) used to be known as ‘side one’, continues with works by Chausson; Hasselmans; Couperin and contemporary composer Paul Reade’s ‘Victorian Kitchen’ suite. All are given an aesthetic interpretation that never seems to waver or weaken.
Side two’s selections cover the compositional spectrum of the twentieth century. Most tracks will be familiar but there a few that even this supposed classical maven found novel and beguiling. That the CD is taped by NAXOS® makes this a must-have for every collector; and a suggestion…get two copies – one for the car while stalled in bumper-to-bumper stop & go situations. It will help calm the nerves.
Two aside curiosities. Erica – do you ever use your ‘piggy went to market’ finger to do a bit of plucking? Inquiring minds etc.
Back to Shulman and her biography. One November night in 1961, a budding & very novice Montreal music critic attended a concert with Jean-Pierre Rampal. Absolutely dumbstruck in the presence of such an icon, it was in reality Alexander Brott who conducted the interview on my behalf! Suzanne, what was it like actually having to study under the maestro?