05 Flute in the WildFlute in the Wild
Jaye Marsh; Darren Hicks; Heidi Elise Bearcroft; Andrew Morris; John Rice; Christina Marie Faye; Richard Herriott
Centrediscs CMCCD 28921 (cmccanada.org/product-category/recordings/centrediscs)

A solo flute in lofty, avian dialogue with recorded loon calls: this CD’s opener, Diane Berry’s five-minute Calling (2013), inspired Ontario-based flutist Jaye Marsh to ask three friends “to express their experience of our shared landscapes” for her debut disc, producing four works completed in 2021.

Two are by the well-established Elizabeth Raum. In her 16-minute Northern Lights, flute, harp (Heidi Elise Bearcroft) and percussion (Andrew Morris) generate phosphorescent sonorities mirroring the aurora’s ephemeral, glittering pulsations before fading into afterimages. Bassoonist Darren Hicks joins Marsh and Bearcroft in the sweetly nostalgic, 17-minute Bridal Veil Falls, five movements illuminating sonic snapshots from Raum’s childhood visit to Manitoulin Island: A Walk along the Path, Morning Rain, Mist over the Falls, Porcupines (delightfully gawky music!) and Kagawong River.

Narrator John Rice, a Wasauksing First Nation elder, tells of traditional harvests, songs and dances in Richard Mascall’s five-movement, 23-minute Niibin (Summer) but the music, for flute and piano (Christina Marie Faye) seems bland and understated; I miss the character and energy that made Mascall’s earlier Georgian Bay Symphony commission Manitoulin, which also incorporated Indigenous melodies and rhythms, so powerfully stirring.

Virtuoso pianist Richard Herriott accompanies Marsh’s alto flute in his five-minute Twilight Song of Trinity Bay that “reveals,” writes Herriott, “a lonely church…at fog-ridden twilight.” The flute’s drifting, searching melodies, underlined by the piano’s bell-like tolling and rippling arpeggios, immediately transported me to a Newfoundland coastline, remote and shrouded. 

Kudos to fine flutist Jaye Marsh for this (mostly) enchanting CD!

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