05 my lucky lifeMy Lucky Life  
Christopher Lee; Jacqueline Goring; Alexa Wilks        
Manor House Records MH2125 (christopherlee.ca)

In recordings of flute music, more often than not the focus is on the technical skills of the performer. Toronto flutist Christopher Lee has no need to concentrate on such a display; it is evident in all of his work. This CD shines a different light. With a few exceptions, for this recording Lee has selected well-known arias from operas. I was immediately attracted to this CD because it contains a flute and harp rendition of my all-time favourite operatic aria: Mon couer s’ouvre a ta voix from Saint-Saëns’ opera Samson et Dalila. In the opera Dalila seduces Samson so that he may be captured. All of the emotion of this work is brought to us though the warm and full-bodied tone of the artist’s flute enhanced by the beautiful counterpoint of the harp (Jacqueline Goring). Throughout the many rubato passages these two are in perfect synchronism as if they were reading each other’s emotions. While the violin (Alexa Wilks) plays a lesser role on this CD, it fulfills a significant role in the fabric of the arrangements.
Much of the recording contains similar renditions of familiar arias from the operas of Verdi, Puccini and Weber. The balance contains incidental music for plays by Grieg and Nielsen as well as the familiar serenade Ständchen from Schubert’s song cycle Schwanengesang. The disc leads off with Godard’s Berceuse from his opera Jocelyn. This is one of those enduring melodies which has stood the test of time long after the opera and composer have been forgotten.
With the exception of the work by Nielsen all of the arrangements were crafted by Lee. The program notes on the music and the performers are concise and informative.

Concert Note:
Christopher Lee is one of a myriad performers featured at the Canadian Flute Convention being held in Oakville June 30 to July 1 (canadaflute.com/convention).

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