THEODORE BLUMER: Serenade and Theme and Variations, Op. 34; 10 Waltzes, Op. 56; From the Animal Kingdom, Op. 57a; From the Plant World, Op. 57b – John Bailey, flute/ Mark Clinton, piano/ Moran Woodwind Quintet – Crystal

by | Feb 29, 2008 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

THEODORE BLUMER: Serenade and Theme and Variations, Op. 34; 10 Waltzes, Op. 56; From the Animal Kingdom, Op. 57a; From the Plant World, Op. 57b – John Bailey, flute/ Mark Clinton, piano/ Moran Woodwind Quintet – Crystal CD757, 70:47 ****:

This is Volume 3 of the wind chamber music of Theodore Blumer (1881-1964). Blumer studied at the Dresden Conservatory and made his living in the same area as a composer, pianist, and conductor. He created works in all genres, and seemed to like writing for his friends in the Dresden Staatskapelle. He has a large output for winds, including two sextets for wind quintet and piano and four quintets. Blumer’s music has been compared to R. Strauss, though I think I hear more of the French school that that high-calorie German.

The Serenade and Theme and Variations is the only wind quintet piece on this album. This is the first piece he wrote in this medium, and it is a beautiful piece that attracts attention immediately. The rest of the program is for flute, and the works presented are a series of character pieces. Though you will not find a lot of drama in the six pieces that make up From the Animal Kingdom or From the Plant World you do get are some very nice short essays that contain the composer’s varied impressions of these items.

The Ten Waltzes sound like Brahms-lite; however, this is where the comparison ends, for there is no sense of the subversive or trouble-ridden in these works at all. I think they are the most entertaining pieces on the disc, and Blumer is a real champ at making the flute and piano sound good together.

John Bailey is a very fine player residing professionally University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Music (as do all the artists on this release). His sound is fluffy and round, with a superlative technique. The Crystal sound feels just right, nicely capturing the instruments and their resonance. This isn’t a bad disc at all, especially for someone looking for something a little new (and good) and different.

— Steven Ritter
 

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