This is not I think the first time Franck's violin sonata has been recorded in a version for flute and piano. It gives another warmer accent to this well known work and also shows Zucker breaking away from her accustomed territory of suites, genre pieces and atmosphere poems. This grand work of the romantic repertoire receives the customary warm and long-lined lyrical treatment. It works remarkably well especially in the finale. The piano is tactfully balanced and if anything sounds as if its top end presence has been toned down so that at all times it sounds velvety and hardly ever percussive. Ravel's sultry Pièce en forme de Habanera
is given here in the transcription by Louis Fleury and at moments looks forward, not very far, to the Rapsodie espagnole
. Fauré's Morceau de concours
is one of a host of competition pieces - ultimately unremarkable. The Debussy Little Shepherd
(no. 5 from Children's Corner
) is warmly fruity and fades into an evening that seems to breathe Saharan heat. Schubert's Introduction and Variations on a Theme from the Mullerlieder
, Cantilena) op. 25 makes a and poetic rare appearance in this classically-based collection. The extended and inventive Variations are on the song Trockne
from Schöne Müllerin
. Usually anything by the prolific and long-lived Milhaud is going to be a delight and so it proves with the flute Sonatine
. There's a sinuously insidious Tendre
, a troubled rippling Souple
with some shivering undercurrents and a final confident almost swaggering Clair
. Marc Shapira is discreetly supportive throughout. Zucker is very much in the foreground and no one can regret that in the face of such emotionally communicative playing.
Len Mullenger of Music Web International
The long time team of Laurel Zucker & Mark Shapiro unite once again on a selection of compositions from influential composers Cesar Franck, Gabriel Faure, Claude Debussy, Franz Schubert, and Maurice Ravel on Master Music for Flute & Piano.
The title of the recording befits the 19 compositions covered on this comprehensive outing. Schubert gets extensive coverage through seven variations and the “Theme – Trochne Blumen.” While I found the entire recording beautifully done and valid, this particular broad honoring of Debussy is the most prolific and ever changing on the CD. The then the two main compositions are by Cesar Franck, which the artists feel is the most important classic. The flute and piano playing of Ms. Zucker and Mr. Shapiro are as usual, beyond reproach.
The consistency of the compositions is remarkable. I found the music sweeping and it left me mesmerized, unable to concentrate on anything else for very long. Of course, this would be the objective of any entertainer, and this marvelous couple does a fine job of capturing the essence and purpose of the original composer’s meaning.
Once again, I found myself captivated by classical music. What makes it all that much sweeter is that its independent classical musical on the label of the artist. Shapiro and Zucker serve as an inspiration to all artists from every genre on the globe.</b> This is how you do it the indie way with class and style."