Alice Dade: Living Music

review dade flute x1 cong

The start (Air, for flute and string quartet) of this gentle and pleasant CD is pastoral, the music for a section of narrative from John Boy Walton (“Jim Bob never did tame that mountain lion, but it followed him all summer, and into the fall and as the leaves turned brown.”). Parts are more dramatic, as is the air it describes. It puts you in mind of thermals, steadily rising.

Skipping Stones recalls the composer’s childhood days, skimming the water with flat stones: “In the fourth bar, the bass finds a particularly good stone with a pizzicato toss on the waters,” he writes. It works well at recalling childhood; in places it evokes the incidental music of old children’s television programmes, such as The Herbs or Pogle’s Wood. Na Trì Peathraichean is inspired by Glencoe region and the mountainside screes, opening rather mystically but becoming more grounded as the composer lowers her eyes from the mountain tops.

The closing piece is Pavanes and Symmetries, which evokes moonlit nights. The sleeve notes say it was inspired by poet Stanley Kunitz, who speculated “on the possibility, beyond simplicity, of an art so transparent that one could look through it and see the world”; if it can make the listener think of looking out into space, it works.

The album shows that contemporary music, particularly for the flute, does not have to be challenging or strident, but can be calming and colourful. Nice late-night music.

Out on Naxos, 8559831.

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  1. Jennifer M. Barker

    Thank you for taking the time to review this CD. – Jennifer

    1. jerobear


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