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Classical Music Review

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Returning to Heights Unseen


Composers: Various
Performed by: Lindsay Goodman
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 11 May 2018

Flutist Lindsey Goodman presents her second album, Returning to Heights Unseen, the follow up studio recording to 2016’s Reach Through the Sky. Goodman grasps the listener’s attention right away with Roger Dannenberg’s 'Separation Logic' for flute and live computer processing (2013). In this futuristic work, it is the listener’s responsibility to determine what is real and what is imagined as their ears are fed short melodic phrases that have been electronically manipulated.

This is followed by David Stock’s 'A Wedding Prayer' for 2 flutes (2004), which sees Goodman dueting with herself, thanks to electronic manipulation.

In Tony Zilincik’s 'I Asked You' for solo flute and mixed media, Goodman competes with samples of spoken text and percussion riffs in “Everything I Love”. “I Play Music” boasts a similar challenge, but without percussion and with the addition of the atmospheric pads of a modern synthesizer and the sound of ocean waves. The flute melody is a native chant of sorts, and its meditative nature immediately sends all other sounds to the background.

Goodman demonstrates dexterous lip-trills that rival the wing speed of a hummingbird. Elainie Lillios’s 'Sleep’s Undulating Tide' for flute in C and live, interactive electroacoustics (2016) seems to be a continuation of the previous Zilincik track, until the entrance of a ghostly mezzo-soprano voice - the flutist’s herself.

Next is Linda Kernohan’s 'Demon/Daemon', a performance art piece in which the flutist is both musician and actor as she is seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. Randall Woolf’s 'The Line of Purples' for flute and pre-recorded electronics (2015) is the least harmonically experimental of the works so far, but perhaps the most complex to categorize. It begins as a popular rock anthem but journeys into a classical chamber work and then back again.

Roger Zahab’s suspicion of nakedness, brings the listener on an emotional journey through the tentative phrases of the flute melody interspersed with unsure pauses and rhythmic anxiety and hurriedness. This work ends abruptly to give way for Judith Shatin’s 'For the Fallen' for amplified flute and electronics (2017). The fallen, in this case, is the fallen of all wars. Here Goodman offers a moving tribute, with the entire spectrum of possible flute sounds and colours though an electronic backdrop of dark chimes, pipes, gongs, and cymbals.

As a keen, but not very good, flautist myself, I really could appreciate the finer points of Goodman's performances. And while I admit it's probably not something I'd find easy to listen to recreationally, it was an interesting experience. She takes a diverse cross section of modern composers work and injects her own personality into them.

As I said before, it's not the sort of album I'd necessarily listen to for pleasure, but as modern experimental classical music this is interesting enough to warrant checking it out.


Darren Rea

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