Stephanie Jutt’s new recording delivers a whole lot more than “just” flute and piano
Stephanie Jutt, artistic director and co-founder of the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, recently released a new cd on the Albany label, “Latin American & Spanish Masterpieces for Flute and Piano.” Like yours truly, most of the repertoire will be new to you, unless you are a singer who has explored the song catalogues of the likes of Villa-Lobos, Gusatavino and Guridi.
There are probably a few more works by those men (along with Piazzolla and Lasala, who are also represented on the disc), originally for flute and piano, but no fewer than nine tracks of this release consist of songs, transcribed for flute and piano. The philosophy—as well as the individual choices—bears much fruit.
Jutt is partnered by Pablo Zinger and Elena Abend at different times; the disc opens with a stunning pair of Piazzolla numbers. One cannot complain about transcription here: Piazzolla’s output continues to be borrowed and re-purposed for all manner of soloists and combos. Jutt does them full justice, and again with the famous “Libertango” on track six.
In between we are treated to our first transcribed songs, three by Carlos Guastavino. This Argentine artist is well represented on the disc, with his “Tonada y Cueca” (originally for clarinet) and “Introduccion y Allegro,” the only work on the recording originally for flute and piano.
Three songs each by Jesus Guridi and Angel Lasala are probably the most obscure works here, and repeated hearings only make us more grateful that Jutt and her pianists opted for them. Zinger’s own arrangements of three Villa-Lobos songs, and two more short pieces by Piazzolla close out the generous disc (it runs over 76 minutes). Throughout, Jutt’s warm and subtly nuanced tone proves a wonderful vehicle for the vocal transcriptions, and as usual her technique conquers all challenges. The overall sound of the disc is superb—no surprise, considering it was engineered by the award-winning Judith Sherman.
David Grayson’s liner notes are fabulous not just for their insight and detail (the story of Piazzolla discovering his true compositional nature thanks to Nadia Boulanger is priceless), but also for the discussion of what is potentially lost—and gained—when transcribing vocal pieces for instruments. In the end, we get to make up our own minds: In an era when it’s increasingly difficult to find substantial cd booklets, this one gives us the texts of the original songs. Hmmm….might have to dig around for some of those originals as well.
But in the meantime, we can enjoy Jutt’s artistry, along with many friends from far and wide, at the 25th anniversary season of the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. Pablo Zinger will be on hand for the second weekend, June 17-19, with arrangements of Piazzolla tangos and his own take on movie music. The following closing weekend (June 24-26) brings back one of BDDS audiences’ favorites, The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, by Piazzolla. Oh, and there’s plenty of Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn and the like to deliver that heady BDDS mixture of classics revered and undiscovered.