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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Christopher Rouse; Jacques Ibert - Flute Concertos (Katherine Bryan)


Composer: Christopher Rouse; Jacques Ibert; Claude Debussy; Frank Martin
  • (01-05) Rouse - Flute Concerto
  • (06-08) Ibert - Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
  • (09) Debussy - Syrinx
  • (10) Martin - Ballade

Katherine Bryan, flute
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Jac van Steen, conductor

Date: 2013
Label: Linn Classics



Second orchestral disc from RSNO flautist Bryan

Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto was composed as a direct response to the killing of James Bulger in Liverpool in 1993. It expresses the shock and incomprehension that we all experienced at that appalling, senseless crime, but at the same time it enshrines the beauty and innocence of an infant life so cruelly snuffed out. At the concerto’s centre there is a poignant elegy that echoes and pre-echoes the quiet Celtic-tinged melodies forming the first and last of the concerto’s five movements. Katherine Bryan and the RSNO under Jac van Steen capture the fluctuating moods of the music superbly in this performance, by turns lyrical, playful, sinister and violent.

Bryan certainly has complete mastery of the technical and expressive demands, as she does in Ibert’s Concerto of 1933. Exuberance of spirit coupled with the mellowness of her golden timbre lend the first movement a lightness, energy and mellifluous fluency, with the rich sonority of her flute’s lower register coming into its own in the central Andante. The final Allegro scherzando, exercising any soloist’s dexterity and breath control, is played with captivating élan, the orchestra etching in its contributions with rhythmic point. Frank Martin’s Ballade of 1939, written as a competition piece, likewise draws from Bryan a beautifully modulated interpretation, shapely and seductive of contour in the slower sections, athletic in the rhythmic ducking and diving of sprightlier music. Her playing of Debussy’s Syrinx, the ne plus ultra of the solo flute repertoire, is exquisitely eloquent.

-- Geoffrey Norris, Gramophone

More reviews:


Christopher Rouse (born February 15, 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an American composer. studied with Richard Hoffmann at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, graduating in 1971. He later completed graduate degrees under Karel Husa at Cornell University in 1977. In between, Rouse studied privately with George Crumb. Though he has written for various ensembles, Rouse is primarily known for his orchestral compositions, including a Requiem, eleven concertos, and four symphonies. Rouse was the composer-in-residence for the New York Philharmonic from 2012 to 2015.


Jacques Ibert (15 August 1890 – 5 February 1962) was a French composer. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and won its top prize, the Prix de Rome at his first attempt, despite studies interrupted by his service in World War I. Ibert pursued a successful composing career, writing seven operas, five ballets, incidental music for plays and films, songs, choral works, and chamber music. He is probably best remembered for his orchestral works. Ibert did not attach himself to any of the prevalent genres of music of his time, and has been described as an eclectic.


Katherine Bryan (born 1982) is a British flautist. She was educated at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester and Juilliard School in New York from 2000 until graduation in 2003. Bryan became Principal Flute of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Spring 2003, a position to which she was appointed at the age of 21. She continues to perform regularly around the UK and abroad. In addition to her position with the RSNO, Bryan has performed as Guest Principal Flute with various British orchestras. Bryan is also a lecturer of flute at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.


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