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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mimi Stillman, Charles Abramovic, "Odyssey: American Premieres for Flute and Piano"

The flute and piano duo offers the modern composer a sound-color spectrum of somewhat unparalleled variety when played by accomplished artists. Such is the case with flautist Mimi Stillman and pianist Charles Abramovic, and their Odyssey: American Premieres for Flute and Piano (Innova 2-CD 814). Eleven composers and the same number of corresponding, fairly brief works fill the program. A few are for solo flute, the rest for duo. Together they provide some noteful vehicles for the artistry of Ms. Stillman and the flawless accompanying work of Mr. Abramovic. Andrew Rudin, Richard Danielpour and a host of lesser-known composers provide contrasting tonal universes ranging from folk allusion to modernist agility. Each piece has interest.

In the hands of Mimi Stillman these works ring out. She has a very ravishing tone, masterful control over the full range and articulatory possibilities of her instrument. She and Charles Abramovic realize an overarching concept of the compositional whole of each work. There are some brilliant musical contrasts in play throughout, and in all cases the Stillman-Abramovic duo triumphs.

The sensual, tactile riches contained in performances like these, the architectural approach to each work. and the expressive virtuosity that never overshines outside the parameters of the compositions make for a program that will afford listeners virtually endless pleasure. That is most certainly how the music affected me. Not a moment is wasted! Highly recommended.

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