CD Reviews

Fantasie

“When this first arrived, I tossed it aside in the “blah” pile. I already own great recordings of all this music, so I was not motivated to hear it. That was a mistake. The playing is fabulous. Laurel Ann Maurer has dazzling technique and a gorgeous, rich tone, and Joanne Pearce Martin is an equal partner. All of the literature is standard. Serious flute students should be familiar with every piece. This would be a great reference for students; and anyone who enjoys great French music played with grace, dignity, and polish should find it.” American Record Guide, May/June 2007

“. . . This is an excellent recording and highly recommended. . . . Maurer’s interpretation of the Francaix is stunning, and her use of color in the Hue is wonderful.” Flute Talk, October 2006

“This CD includes some of the substantial French works: Dutilleux’s Sonatine, the Jolivet Chant de Linos, Roussels’ Joueurs de Flûte, the Françaix Divertimento, Hüe’s Fantaisie, and the flute and piano arrangement of Debussy’s Prélude á l’aprés-midi d’un faune. Maurer is an exceptional player and presents very convincing, honest performances of these virtuosic works. Her tone colors are refreshingly varied, and this recording is, in a word, fabulous.” Kansas City Flute Association Newsletter, Vol. XXIX, No. 2, May 2006

LAUREL ANN MAURER is without question one of the most gifted and exceptional flutists today. Her playing is always filled with an exquisite expressiveness that is matched in her superb musicality and consummate virtuosity. . . .” from CDs showcase talented Utahns (Fantasie), by Edward Reichel, Deseret News, May 26, 2006

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The Halleluliah Tree

“This is an adventurous and wide-ranging survey of works that owe their genesis to the very able soloist and are played by her with great finesse. I greatly enjoyed much of the Kupferman, the Chuaqui, one of the Perna Berceuse and the finale of the Manookian. . . .” – by Jonathan Wool, MusicWeb International, Sep. 5 2005

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“. . . The Kupferman work is harmonically lush, virtuosic, and beautifully performed. . . . Three Conversations Between Two Flutists is a demanding duet, well performed here by Maurer and Duffy; their tones, vibratos, and articulation lengths match so well that the result could have been that of overdubbing by one player. . . .” – Flute Talk, September 2005

Manookian: Concertos

“Jeff Manookian collects an impressive amount of awards and honors for his compositions. They have been performed by orchestras in the Americas and Europe. He also performs as a pianist and a conductor with orchestras around the world. He is a versatile musician, and this is reflected in the breadth of his compositions.

The concertos here are distinct. The piccolo concerto is bright and angular compared to the folk-inspired viola concerto, the lush two-piano concerto, or the moody alto flute piece. Maurer, a bright soloist, is an advocate of new flute music and has worked in collaboration with Manookian before. She works her way through piles of notes effortlessly and handles the piccolo quite well, never letting it sound shrill even in the high register. The recording quality for this concerto is noticeably lower than it is in the others.

The viola concerto, titled Improvisations on Armenian Folk Songs, is a melodic cadenza for the viola with light orchestral support and animated interjections that recall Bartok. Richards, a young virtuoso with a rich tone and an impressive flexibility of character in his playing, leads the orchestra through this extemporaneous piece.

Established soloists Duehlmeier and Gritton are also able to impart a fresh, improvised character into the more harmonic Two-Piano Concerto. The recital ends with a modal, meditative piece for alto flute with harp and strings called Khachkar. The orchestra struggles in complicated technical areas, but they do not lack spirit.” – Johnson, American Record Guide, November/December 2003

Angel Shadows

“Flautist Laurel Ann Maurer performs well here, exhibiting a strong, full tone quality and good control in slow passages as well as able finger technique in most fast segments. . . .” – by David Cleary, New Music Connoisseur, Vol 11, No. 2 (Summer 2003)

“. . . attractive energy. . . crisp technique. . . Maurer cares about these pieces and they really are a good match for her. This recital has a nice flow, and her Manookian and Wyner are fine first recordings.” – American Record Guide, November/December 2002

Angel Shadows

“When played by a wonderful interpreter like Laurel Ann Maurer, it becomes evident that this instrument has grown old gracefully. . . .” – New Music Box, August 2002

Legacy of the American Woman Composer

“Laurel Ann Maurer is an exceptional flutist. Her playing is vibrant and exciting and full of energy and passion. Her musicality is unsurpassed, and her virtuosity is stunning. And her performances are marked with an engaging enthusiasm that is genial and appealing. . . .” – by Edward Reichel, Deseret News, July 22, 2001

“. . . Most of these composers are not well known, but a few stand out as worthy of more attention, most notably Gwyneth Walker’s folk-like “Theme and Variation”, Claire Polin’s “First Flute Sonata” and Libby Larsen’s “Aubade”. Jennifer Higdon’s “Legacy” provides the most powerful vehicle for expression on this recording, a fact not lost on either performer.” – Flute Talk, July 2001

O North Star

“. . . Flutists will probably be most intrigued by the “Dovely Duo” for flute and clarinet, which really does sound like two doves, and “Strata” for solo flute, written in memory of Samuel Baron. Maurer’s control of the instrument in the performance of “Strata” is masterful.” – Flute Talk, July 2001

Sonatas

“Among the many talented musicians in Salt Lake City, flutist Laurel Ann Maurer is one of the most remarkable. She is an artist of rare musicality and stunning virtuosity. Her tone is supple and rich with expression, and her playing is marked by careful attention to details of phrasing and dynamics. And her performances are characterized by a vibrancy and energy that is appealing and welcome. . . .” by Edward Reichel, Deseret News, Apr. 8, 2001

Orchestral Music of Meyer Kupferman, Volume 11

KUPFERMAN: Winter Symphony; Concerto Brevis

“Commisioned by the National Flute Association’s annual convention in 1997, with Laurel Ann Maurer as soloist, the Concerto Brevis is in one extended movement embracing a number of changing moods. Kupferman uses a large orchestra to paint a backdrop of iridescent tonal colors, with outbursts that erupt in the soloists silent moments. For the flute the music is usually hyperactive, and Maurer displays an extraordinary agility and virtuosity in her performance of it. . . .” – by David Denton, Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec 1999

American Flute Works

“Maurer has a strong, colorful, full sound and a sure technique for the very demanding music on this recording. She maintains a high energy level and shows true dedication to the cause of new music. Through Maurer’s playing is not as interesting and varied as Patricia Spenser (Neuma) or Manuela Wiesler (Bis), I am impressed with her virtuosity, her control of the high register, her flutter-tongue, and her clean articulation. Pianist Joanne Pearce Martin joins her in making the virtuosic ending of the Kupferman sonata very exciting.” – by Fine, American Record Guide, 1996

“This impressively performed recital of American flute music from the second half of the century demonstrates a number of different and significant compositional trends. On the conservative side, Copland’s lovely duo of the early 70s stylistically recalls his popular works of the 1940s, especially Appalachian Spring. The Barber Canzone, which concludes the disc, is based on a haunting tune used a number of times by the composer, most notablv in the slow movement of the Piano Concerto. Robert Muczynski’s four-movement sonata is a thoroughly neoclassical work with memorable ideas, bouncv rhythms, and a wonderfully virtuosic finale. On the slightly less approachable side, the recital includes Meyer Kupferman’s large-scale Chaconne Sonata from 1993. As with most of the composer’s work, a dissonant chromatic language reigns throughout the work, but the composer’s impressive craftsmanship and invention are also abundant.

The works by Joan Tower and Leo Kraft, although short, present the greatest challenges to the listener. Tower’s 1972 work for solo flute is, like other solo flute works from the 60s and 70s, angular, austere, and a bit forbidding. Kraft’s work uses aleatoric elements, and despite some rather interesting interplay between the piano and flute, deals in gestures which may have once seemed fresh but now seem somewhat overly familiar. Both of these works and, to some extent, Kupferman’s sonata make me wish fluttertonguing had never been invented.

This is not to say that Maurer’s fluttertonguing technique is lacking. In fact, she is technically superb in every way. Her tone is consistently attractive even in the most treacherous passages, and she plays with great rhythmic drive and impeccable phrasing. The piano writing in this music is as challenging as that of the flute, and Joanne Pearce Martin is very impressive throughout the recital. The sound is very good, although like most flute recordings, a bit unnaturally reverberant. Unlike most flute recordings, however, a microphone does not seem to have been placed inside the flute; the instrument’s distance is welcome, and the tapping of the keys and the gasps for breath that so often accompany recorded recitals are not missed at all. This is a very interesting program, played with extraordinary skill by two expert musicians.” – by Richard Burke, Fanfare Magazine, Apr/May 1996