Sentimentale (Flutist Samantha Chang and Friends)

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CD Release Date: Saturday, April 16, 2011 + "Samantha Chang & Friends" Concert

Bolling, Claude (b 1930)
[01] Sentimentale from Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio (07:18)
Samantha Chang, flute; Mark Camilleri, piano; Jon Maharaj, bass; Mark Inneo, drums

Doppler, Franz (1821-1883)
[02] Andante (04:20) and [03] Rondo (05:18) Op. 25
Samantha Chang, flute; Conrad Chow, violin; Ellen Meyer, piano

Dorozio, Tod (b 1968)
[04] Pescara Pastorale (02:52)
Samantha Chang, flute

Hugues, Luigi (1836-1913)
[05] Grand Concerto Fantasy Op. 5 on themes from Verdi’s “Un Ballo In Maschera” (08:53)
Samantha Chang and Christopher Lee, flutes; Dona Jean Clary, piano

Bolling, Claude (b 1930)
[06] Irlandaise from Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio (03:40)
Samantha Chang, flute; Mark Camilleri, piano; Jon Maharaj, bass; Mark Inneo, drums

Tan, Mizi (b 1936)
[07] Two Lyrics of Yi People (08:40)
Samantha Chang, alto flute and flute; Dona Jean Clary, piano

Bizet, Georges (1838-1875)
[08] Intermezzo from Carmen (02:23)
Samantha Chang, flute; Chen Liu, piano

Borne, François (1840-1920)
[09] Fantaisie Brillante on themes from Bizet’s "Carmen" (12:12)
Samantha Chang, flute; Dona Jean Clary, piano

Ibert, Jacques (1890-1962)
[10] I Andante espressivo (03:28) [11] II Allegro vivo (04:06) from Deux Interludes
Samantha Chang, flute; Conrad Chow, violin; Ellen Meyer, piano

Bolling, Claude (b 1930)
[12] Fugace from Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio (04:04)
Samantha Chang, flute; Mark Camilleri, piano; Jon Maharaj, bass; Mark Inneo, drums

Total Playing Time (67:08)

Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Mark Camilleri at Imagine Sound Studios (Toronto)

Flute: Muramatsu DN Model
Piano: 9’ Bösendorfer 92 Keys

 

SAMANTHA CHANG & FRIENDS CONCERT (Please click here to download the programme book)

Hailed by The Wholenote Magazine for her “lyricism, resourcefulness, and strong personal commitment to the flute”, Canadian flutist Samantha Chang is a musical tour de force and a rising young artist.  On Saturday, April 16, 2011, Ms. Chang drew a full house to Koerner Hall, celebrating the release of her second album "Sentimentale". All CD sales from April 16th "Samantha Chang & Friends" were donated to The Canadian Red Cross Society: Japan Earthquake / Asia-Pacific Tsunami.

Ms. Chang invited several musicians to share the stage, including pianists Mark Camilleri, Dona Jean Clary and Ka Kit Tam; flutists Christopher Lee, Alheli Pimienta, Dmitriy Varelas and Sophia Wang; oboist Adam Weinmann; violinist Conrad Chow; cellists Kevin He and Angel Ji; bassists Tim Fitzgerald and Jon Maharaj; drummer Mark Inneo; and vocalist Yiping Chao. Program highlights include selections from Bolling’s Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio; Corea's Armandos Rhumba; Borne’s Fantaise Brillante on Themes from Bizet’s Carmen; Chang's Samantha Fantasy; Hugues’ Grand Concert Fantasy Op. 5; Tan’s Two Lyrics of Yi People; and more. Watch highlights from Samantha Chang and Friends YouTube Playlist.

CD Reviews

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Button PDFCD Reviews by Robert Schulslaperof Fanfare Magazine (January/February 2012)

FEATURE REVIEW by Robert Schulslaper

FLUTE SKETCHES • Samantha Chang (fl); Khai Nguyen (vn); Amy Laing (vc); Ellen Meyer (pn) • SAMANTHA CHANG 326118 (62:29)

TAN A Caged Partridge’s Longing. WOODALL Serenade. TAFFANEL Fantasy on Mignon. SCHULHOFF Sonata. PIAZZOLLA Oblivión. REINECKE Ballade. DOROZIO Exodus Partita. GOOSSENS 4 Sketches: Romance; Humoreske

SENTIMENTALE• Samantha Chang (fl); 1Mark Camilleri (pn); 1John Maharaj (db); 1Mark Inneo (drums); 2, 7Conrad Chow (vn); 2, 7Ellen Meyer (pn); 3Christopher Lee (fl); 3, 4, 6Dona Jean Clary (pn); 5Chen Liu (pn) • SAMANTHA CHANG 270222 (67:08)

1 BOLLING Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio: Sentimentale; Irlandaise; Fugace. 2 DOPPLER Andante and Rondo. 3 DOROZIO Pescara Pastorale. 3 HUGUES Grand Concerto Fantasy on Themes from Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. 4 TAN 2 Lyrics of Yi People. 5 BIZET Intermezzo from Carmen. 6 BORNE Fantaisie Brilliante on Themes from Bizet’s Carmen. 7 IBERT 2 Interludes

The subtitle of Samantha Chang’s Flute Sketches is Mosaic of Flute Favorites and she follows the same freewheeling approach in Sentimentale. In other words, she’s not attempting to forge abstruse connections but merely to delight, to entertain, and to introduce a few contemporary composers into the bargain. Mizi Tan was Chang’s first teacher. His A Caged Partridge’s Longing is for solo flute, while Two Lyrics of Yi People adds a piano. While the latter piece would be even more successful if scored for the ch’in or guzheng (Chinese zither-like instruments), nonetheless the piano, played sensitively as it is, is an acceptable substitute, adding a delicate harplike texture. (I’m guessing that Tan chose the piano for practical reasons, as ch’in or guzheng masters are probably few on the ground, at least outside of China.) Partridge mingles sporadic Chinese influences, most detectable in the slow, introspective moments, with more rapid figures that suggest both bird flight and song. Woodall’s serenade is sweetly lyrical, an appealing salon morceau with hints of Irish folk song that lend it a direct, unforced sentimentality. The Taffanel, Borne, and Hugues are three of a kind: operatic paraphrases of the sort that were once profusely in vogue. They’re charming potpourris featuring some of the most popular tunes from the chosen operas. In a sense, they function as a musical Reader’s Digest, allowing the audience to imbibe the melodic highlights in condensed form. In her interview, Chang admits that she loves to wallow in Taffanel’s “cheesy” ambiance. I can smell the cheese in the bravura introduction, dramatic tremolos, and hammy piano, which taken together sound like stereotypical silent-screen music. The Hugues dazzles with swirling, intertwining flutes and revels in a slam-bang accelerated finale. As for the Borne, well, you can’t go wrong with Carmen. While perhaps not as scintillating as Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy, Busoni’s Sonatina Supra Carmen, or Horowitz’s Carmen Variations (to name a few among many), it gives flutists a chance to get in on the fun. And speaking of Bizet, the Intermezzo is as lovely as ever.

Tod Dorozio’s Exodus Partita for solo flute is, not surprisingly, often markedly Hebraic, especially in its cantorial flourishes and the exuberant concluding dance. The music is alternately energetic or meditative. His Pescara Pastorale, again for solo flute, sounds vaguely Italian or Mediterranean. Other notable highlights include the Goossens, a luscious example of English Impressionism; the hypnotically melancholy Piazzolla in a fine trio arrangement; the excerpted movements of the always fresh Bolling Suite, which veer from syncopated effervescence to heart-on-sleeve sentiment; and the Schulhoff, which is a major discovery for me: exotic in an Eastern European way, Impressionistic at times, with ingenious piano figures throughout, a jazz-influenced scherzo, and a last movement that leans toward Bartók (or if Schulhoff wasn’t acquainted with him, Rumanian or Hungarian folk music).

Chang has mastered a lovely, warm tone, particularly in the lower register, phrases beautifully, and has agility to spare. Her colleagues are uniformly excellent musicians who deliver idiomatically impeccable performances. Taken together or singly, these discs should charm listeners eager to share Samantha Chang’s enthusiasm for a pleasing diversity of flute-oriented music. Robert Schulslaper

This article originally appeared in Issue 35:3 (Jan/Feb 2012) of Fanfare Magazine.

Button PDFCD Reviews by Jerry Dubins of Fanfare Magazine (January/February 2012)

FEATURE REVIEW by Jerry Dubins

FLUTE SKETCHES • Samantha Chang (fl); Khai Nguyen (vn); Amy Laing (vc); Ellen Meyer (pn) • SAMANTHA CHANG 326118 (62:29)

TAN A Caged Partridge’s Longing. WOODALL Serenade. TAFFANEL Fantasy on Mignon. SCHULHOFF Sonata. PIAZZOLLA Oblivión. REINECKE Ballade. DOROZIO Exodus Partita. GOOSSENS 4 Sketches: Romance; Humoreske

SENTIMENTALE• Samantha Chang (fl); 1Mark Camilleri (pn); 1John Maharaj (db); 1Mark Inneo (drums); 2, 7Conrad Chow (vn); 2, 7Ellen Meyer (pn); 3Christopher Lee (fl); 3, 4, 6Dona Jean Clary (pn); 5Chen Liu (pn) • SAMANTHA CHANG 270222 (67:08)

1 BOLLING Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio: Sentimentale; Irlandaise; Fugace. 2 DOPPLER Andante and Rondo. 3 DOROZIO Pescara Pastorale. 3 HUGUES Grand Concerto Fantasy on Themes from Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera. 4 TAN 2 Lyrics of Yi People. 5 BIZET Intermezzo from Carmen. 6 BORNE Fantaisie Brilliante on Themes from Bizet’s Carmen. 7 IBERT 2 Interludes

The two CDs under review are as distinguished for extraordinary playing as they are for their highly diverse and unusual programs. Many of the composers whose works appear on these discs, such as Reinecke, Taffanel, Ibert, Schulhoff, Piazzolla, Bolling, and Bizet, will be familiar, though not necessarily from the pieces presented here. Other composers, such as Mizi Tan, Tod Paul Dorozio, Luigi Hugues, François Borne, and Albert Woodall, will likely be unknown to most readers.

The last named may be the most interesting of all, if for no other reason than that no one seems to know much of anything about him other than that he was British, that he may have died in World War I, and that he seems to have written one and only one piece of music, the Serenade for Flute, that has survived. It’s a lovely Arcadian song for flute and piano that melds the out-of-doors English pastoral tradition with the indoor salon style.

Luigi Hugues (1836–1913) was born in Casale Monferrato, today a province in Italy’s Piedmont region. He was an amateur flutist who trained as an engineer and eventually ended up in Turin, teaching geography at the university there. Though music was but a pastime for him, he wrote a number of virtuosic works for his instrument that have been praised and criticized in the same sentence for their “brilliance and vacuity.” Of Hugues’s Grand Concerto Fantasy on Themes from Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera for two flutes and piano, flutist and teacher Fenwick Smith has said, “With a flutist’s knowledge of the instrument, which permits him to conjure more notes per square inch than Verdi ever dreamed of, and with the Italians’ sure sense of drama, Hugues has concocted a paragon among potboilers.” Potboiler perhaps, but Samantha Chang, joined by flutist Christopher Lee and pianist Dona Jean Clary, have an absolute ball with the piece, no pun intended.

Tod Dorozio (b.1968) is a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, and currently resides in Toronto. His instrument is guitar, for which he has composed extensively. His Exodus Partita, however, is a six-minute soliloquy for unaccompanied flute. Dorozio describes the piece as a musical re-enactment of “Israel’s movement from bondage to freedom in the second and third books of the Bible.” The piece is made up of three undivided sections. The first “depicts both Israel’s yearning for freedom and eventual release from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 1:13-14)”; the second is “a sound-picture of Israel’s 40 years spent wandering in the wild lands of Egypt and Arabia (Exodus16:2-3)”; and the final section “conveys Israel’s long-awaited and jubilant entry into the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 1:7-8).”

The ability of music to convey such specific imagery is, of course, questionable, all the more so in the case of a piece for solo flute that, absent any composer-provided narrative, could just as easily represent the ritual mating dance of a peacock. Dorozio, however, relies on the well-worn formula of repeated melismas that circle around the augmented second that occurs between the sixth and seventh degrees of the harmonic minor scale, a cliché we’ve been conditioned to associate with the ancient Middle East—read that caravans, camels, and nomads roaming the desert dunes. To the extent that Exodus Partita conjures such imagery, one could say it’s reasonably effective, but Dorozio’s MO is hardly original. Chang, nonetheless, brings to the piece a great deal of color and finesse.
Like Woodall, Francois Borne (1840–1920), also seems to be remembered for a single work, the Fantasy on Themes from Bizet’s Carmen for flute and piano. So popular among flutists is the piece, however, that ArkivMusic lists 28 recordings of it. Borne played principal flute for the Grand Theater of Bordeaux and was professor of flute at the Toulouse Conservatory. He was also a recognized authority on flute design, having contributed to the development of the modern flute’s split-E mechanism.

The fantasy, dating from 1900, was orchestrated as recently as 1990 by arranger Raymond Meylan. Not unlike Hugues’s Verdi fantasy, Borne’s piece puts the flute through its paces, challenging the abilities of the soloist and showcasing the full range of the instrument’s capabilities. Chang rises to the occasion with spectacular playing in a work sure to delight listeners with its variations and spinoffs on Bizet’s familiar tunes.

Chang is a former student of composer Mizi Tan (b.1936) whose piece for solo flute A Caged Partidge’s Longing opens the first of the two discs. Written in 1987, it sounds Oriental in much the same way that Dorozio’s Exodus Partita sounds Middle Eastern. In Tan’s case, the cliché is the reliance on pentatonic scales and melodic fragments that suggest the fluttering of wings to paint a musical portrait of a bird attempting to escape the confines of its caged existence. It’s an attractive piece, the largely quiet and peaceful demeanor of which belies any serious desire or frantic attempt by the bird to fly the coop.

Turning now from the little-known and unknown composers on these two discs to those whose names are apt to ring a bell, we come to Claude-Paul Taffanel (1844–1908), the famous late 19th-century flute virtuoso and pedagogue who is generally held to be the father of the French flute school. His fantasy on Ambroise Thomas’s opera Mignon is a real charmer, managing to make more of its meager material than might be expected. In their day, Thomas’s operas—he wrote two dozen of them—gained great popularity among French audiences; Le Caïd alone was staged some 400 times. As confessed in the past, I’m not an opera authority, but my general sense is that with the possible exception of Mignon, Thomas’s operas are not often mounted in today’s houses.

Listening to Taffanel’s fantasy, it’s easy to understand why. There’s hardly anything memorable to take away from it, which is not Taffanel’s fault, other than for choosing Mignon as the basis for his piece in the first place. It’s actually a credit to him that he is able to spin such an elaborate web from such flimsy floss. Once again, Chang proves herself an able technician and a most charitable supporter of some of music’s lesser lights. She avoids the temptation to program the more obvious and popular solo flute repertoire items, like Debussy’s Syrinx, instead putting together recitals that boldly embrace diversity and much that is rarely heard.

Which brings us to Eugene Goossens’s Romance and Humoreske from his Four Sketches for flute, violin, and piano, op. 5. Goossens, of course, earned something of a reputation as a conductor, not to mention as a charged criminal in a scandal involving witchcraft and pornography, but we don’t often encounter him on records as a composer, though his catalog of works is of quite a respectable size. Chang plays the third and fourth numbers of the Four Sketches. I’m aware of only one recording that contains the complete set, a Chandos CD featuring flutist Susan Milan. I have that disc, which also includes several other Goossens works, and the comparison between Milan and Chang in the two pieces is a tough one. Chang’s tone shimmers with a silvery gleam, but I’d have to say that Milan’s violinist, Jan Peter Schmolck, is a bit more poised than Chang’s violinist, Khai Nguyen, who is not always spot-on with his intonation. Not to shortchange Chang’s other partners; cellist Amy Laing and pianist Ellen Meyer are musical equals in every way.

Nor is it my intent to pass over the many other wonderful pieces of music on these two discs. The Claude Bolling pieces performed by Chang and a trio of jazz players—Mark Camilleri on piano, John Maharaj on double bass, and Mark Inneo on drums—are “soft” jazz, easy-listening pieces that are very pleasurable—two of them are, anyway. The third, Fugace, is, just as you would expect from the title, a fugue. What you might not expect is the fugue subject, which is a nifty imitation in the style of Bach which, as it develops, undergoes some very un-Bach-like jazzy treatments that are a real ear-tickling delight.

Franz Doppler (1821–83), another famous flutist, must have gotten an extra portion of the gift for melody when the endowments were being passed out because his Andante and Rondo for flute, violin, and piano are stunningly beautiful, and so beautifully played by Chang, Meyer, and a different violinist this time, Conrad Chow.

Granted, not every single item on these two programs is a masterpiece, but even the lesser ones are miniature gems worth hearing. And except for minor and fleeting intonation imperfection of violinist Khai Nguyen in the Goossens, all of the players here are first-rate, and the recordings couldn’t be bettered. As for Samantha Chang, well, she’s the star of these shows, and she more than earns her top billing on the marquee. These releases receive my very strongest recommendation. Jerry Dubins

This article originally appeared in Issue 35:3 (Jan/Feb 2012) of Fanfare Magazine.

About Samantha

Flutist, conductor, musical tour de force
Hailed by The WholeNote Magazine for her “lyricism, resourcefulness, and strong personal commitment to the flute”, Canadian flutist Samantha Chang is a musical tour de force and rising artist. Her mandate to perform, to teach, and to create opportunities for aspiring flutists is nothing short of astonishing.

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Saturday, June 17, 2017 12:00 PM
(9:00 am PST) 2t Flute Academy Online (https://flute.2tacademy.com)

Monday, June 19, 2017 7:30 PM
Summer in the City Flute Festival at St. Thomas’s Anglican Church (383 Huron Street, Toronto, ON)

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Bolling for Flute

Expected date of release: 2018
Samantha Chang is excited to be working with Mark Camilleri, Mark Inneo, and Pat Kilbride in recording Claude Bolling's works for flute. Stay tuned for updates!

Bolling at Koerner Hall

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