Laurel Zucker CD Reviews
Reviews

Flute Network in July/August 2008 Issue:

"Free Sheet Music To Download! We frequently praise Laurel Zucker for her virtuostic playing, elegant and expressive musicality, and well-produced recordings, but we also want to note her service to the flute community in posting on her website a number of fine works that can not be found elsewhere. In addition to the full score of her Dog Toy Suite mentioned above, she makes available on-line her original cadenzas for the Mozart Concertos in G and D, and the flute and guitar score to Victor Frost's Nuyoricano Tango which she recently recorded. In addition she shares with us three of her earlier etudes for solo flute: Aviary, Effect Out, and LookOut- for a long time now Zucker has been writing the sort of thing that Ian Clarke has made his reputation on in the last several years.


Finally Laurel Zucker has done the flute world a real favor by making available as free downloadable PDFs files for printing performance copies of Kuhlau's long lost Three Duets for Two Flutes, Opus 80 and 81 ( Be sure to load up your printer and check your ink cartridge before attempting to print these Kuhlau Duets: Opus 80 is 46 pages long and Opus 81 is 43 pages). She has also recorded these duets on a CD with Renee Siebert.


Thank you, Laurel, for your generosity, superb performances, and fine compositions! You will find links to these treasures at http://www.laurelzucker.com/news-reviews.php"




Laurel Zucker's CD Reviews

An American Flute Recital
Laurel Zucker with Marc Shapiro (Pianist)

"...as these new releases confirm Laurel Zucker is a forceful advocate for 20th century music. The three colorful Zucker pieces, notable for their sensuality and their dazzling virtuosity, are more alert to avante-grade techniques, but they too are upbeat and high spirited."
FANFARE MAGAZINE



"An attractive disc with some interesting repertoire, well played by Laurel Zucker and pianist Marc Shapiro, the latter playing a Bechstein. It is enjoyable on headphones and speakers alike - I tried both. "
MUSICWEB International
2006 [Read full review]



FEATURE ARTICLE IN THE SAC BEE - ENCORE SECTION 1993
"There's Wind in Her Sails... Flutist Laurel Zucker, the owner of Cantilena Records, has just released its first two CDs: "Laurel Zucker Virtuoso Flutist", and "An American Flute Recital". The first features lovely and loving interpretations by Zucker of four standards: Prokofiev Sonata, Poulenc Sonata, Debussy Syrinx, and Chaminade Concertino. In the second album Zucker is more experimental but no less lyrical playing three of her own compositions and five by other American 20th century composers: Aaron Copland Duo, Kent Kennan Night Soliloquy, Alec Wilder Sonata No. 2, and Daniel Kingman Scenario Musicale.
Zucker says "I want to record as much of the flute literature as possible - virtually everything that has been written for the instrument. It's a never-ending life-long project..."
SACRAMENTO BEE 1993



"I particularly like Marc Shapiro's piano playing in the Alec Wilder Sonata from 1965 on the American Flute Recital disc."
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE 1995



"Excellent flute playing from American flutist, Laurel Zucker."
VLAAMS FLUITISTEN TUDSCRIFT - Holland 1994



Virtuoso Flutist
Laurel Zucker with Pianist Robin Sutherland

"...the langorous phrasing in the Debussy is especially winsome." FANFARE MAGAZINE


FEATURE ARTICLE IN THE SAC BEE - ENCORE SECTION 1993 "There's Wind in Her Sails... Flutist Laurel Zucker, the owner of Cantilena Records, has just released its first two CDs: "Laurel Zucker Virtuoso Flutist", and "An American Flute Recital". The first features lovely and loving interpretations by Zucker of four standards: Prokofiev Sonata, Poulenc Sonata, Debussy Syrinx, and Chaminade Concertino. In the second album Zucker is more experimental but no less lyrical playing three of her own compositions and five by other American 20th century composers: Aaron Copland Duo, Kent Kennan Night Soliloquy, Alec Wilder Sonata No. 2, and Daniel Kingman Scenario Musicale. Zucker says "I want to record as much of the flute literature as possible - virtually everything that has been written for the instrument. It's a never-ending life-long project..." SACRAMENTO BEE 1993


"Highly recommended."
Vlaams Fluitsten Tijdschrif



All-State Flute Repertoire
Laurel Zucker

"Laurel Zucker, American flutist and flute professor at California State University, Sacramento, has recorded on the Cantilena Records label a group of five works frequently chosen by students and their teachers for High School Competitions. The Suite in A minor by Telemann - this is a good rendition with fine tempi and moods. Zucker's interpretation is quite true to Baroque performance style, including appropriate ornamentation.....Mozart G Major Concerto - ...the performance is sensitive and virtuostic....Chaminade's Concertino - "Zucker has complete command of this work, and plays it with great flair and turn-of-the-century style...The recording quality is of high caliber...Suite Modale by Bloch...movements are evocative, with a haunting ending...Faure's Fantasie - Zucker performs it with great flair..the performance is a sparkling one with which to end the CD."
SFORZANDO JOURNAL 1996



Song of the Wind
Laurel Zucker

"This CD of music for unaccompanied solo flute played by Laurel Zucker offers a chance to hear a number of seldom-heard and little-known works as well as some more familiar music. Originally recorded some time ago and released back in 1994, Zucker, a virtuoso American flautist, plays a selection from J. S. Bach onwards."
Adam Binks, MUSICWEB International



"Four Stars! Zucker, an excellent flautist, has constructed a listenable disc of music for solo flute with fine performances."
Leslie Gerber, CLASSICAL PULSE MAGAZINE 1994



"A heart-stoppingly beautiful piece by Katherine Hoover, "Kokopeli", is worth the price of the disc itself."
Leslie Gerber, CLASSICAL PULSE MAGAZINE 1994



"Zucker has put together a fine recording of solo flute music. Kokopeli (the native American Syrinx) is spacious and forward-moving. Hoover's use of the flute's range evokes the contours of the land in the American Southwest."
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE 1995


"The repertoire on the disc is interesting. the works of Katherine Hoover and Zucker herself are pleasant and effectively written for the instrument."
FANFARE MAGAZINE



Poetic Justice
Laurel Zucker

"...This reviewer found the rock orchestration most intriquing, bringing back memories of Jethro Tull and the Blues Project. the light show was a nice touch and the film of the tiny ballet dancers imposed on the illuminated backdrop created a surreal juxtaposition of music and dance. The show was admirable in its encompassing scope, high standards, and technical expertise."
SUTTERTOWN NEWS, 1991



"Zucker and Lynn take you on a journey that you will want to experience again and again. Poetic Justice is a "Free Flight" to wonderland and without exception, some of the best prog-rock I have ever heard. This one is a gem that you need to discover today. I hope Ms. Zucker decides to do this again very soon! This CD is a classic instrumental rendering of symphonic rock that deserves a closer look by all progressive rock enthusiasts. I have to wonder how I missed this one in 1995!"
BUZZLE.COM REVIEW
2004. [Read full review]



"Laurel Zucker and Davis Lynn combined to record an outstanding progressive-symphonic rock album in 1995 titled Poetic Justice. Zucker, accustomed to recording in the realm of classical music, took a right turn and never looked back, performing as if she was a prog-rock veteran like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Lynn is the consummate multi-instrumentalist, serving up plenty of finely honed guitar licks, dreamy keyboards, and the right combination of programming to make all of the parts work just right. I found Laurel Zucker's flute playing masterful as usual, she very smartly takes her classical influences and employs them effectively to mix with the rock sound created by her partner."
BLOGCRITICS.COM
2004. [Read full review]



"...this recording is primarily two people; I find that fact the most awe-inspiring. Once you hear all the varying sounds and feel the contoured moods of this music, you will certainly be in accord with my assessment that this is a five star CD."
EVOLVINGARTIST.COM
2004. [Read full review]



W. A. Mozart Flute Quartets
Laurel Zucker, Shirien Taylor, Mary Hammann, Sam Magill

"Zucker and company play the Mozart quartets with great style and elegance."
FANFARE MAGAZINE



"Zucker displays a gift for expressivity."
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL 1995




Romances for Flute and Piano
Laurel Zucker with Marc Shapiro (Pianist)

"...a very wisely assembled recital of music...Zucker has a full, rich sound coupled with an impressive technique. Zucker's virtuosity is best demonstrated in Borne's difficult Fantasy on Themes from Carmen. There is also a virtuosity which is found inthe playing of a melody with a singing legato and beautiful phrasing.....a thoroughly enjoyable recording..."
FANFARE MAGAZINE



"...the best music-making with Shapiro happens in the Romances disc in the Schumann and Nielsen. The Romances disc has clever programming: the Faure and Gaubert are placed next to each other, and it becomes instantly obvious that Gaubert stole the opening notes of his Romance from Faure's Romance Sans Paroles No. 3."
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE 1995



The Complete G.F. Handel Flute Sonatas
Laurel Zucker with Pianist Robin Sutherland

FOUR STAR REVIEW
FROM GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE
The Awards Issue 2004

HANDEL FLUTE AND HARPSICHORD SONATAS

"A STREAM OF HANDELIAN IDEAS
GIVEN THEIR FULL DUE BY THIS NIMBLE DUO!"
Seven apparently is a lucky number  even where Handel is concerned. He composed just so many sonatas for flute and harpsichord, each of them a delectable mix of dance and lyrical movements.

Listening in one sitting to such a bounty of pieces turns out to be no hardship, at least as performed by flautist, Laurel Zucker, and harpsichordist, Robin Sutherland.

Here the musicians aware of period style who don't insist on dogmatic ideas about phrasing, articulation and only in the case of the flute, vibrato. themes seem to pour from these sonatas like water in a brook, both bubbling and gentle. Everything sounds fresh and inevitable.

Zucker and Sutherland provide expressive impetus whether Handel is sprightly, aristocratic or poetic. The flautist applies tonal lustre when needed, while lalso ightening deftly as the music shifts into reflective gear. Sutherland is very collegial and crisp.

Gramophone Magazine  - Awards Issue 2004   Donald Rosenberg

__

"She shapes phrases and dynamics eloquently to turn her performances into highly individual statements. Of the seven sonatas presented here, a highlight is the Sonata in F major, with its joyfully dancing allegro sections. Zucker frames them beautifully by burnishing the slower lines of the larghetto and siciliana that separate them. Zucker's mastery should come as no surprise. She has built a fine international career as a performer, teacher and composer. Among her more visible projects is a role as a featured performer on PBS television's Arts Alive."
MILWAUKEE JOURNAL 1995



"Top CDs from works of Handel...Zucker and Sutherland are players who value buoyancy, color and tasteful embellishments. The program is appealing and well recorded."
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER 1995



"Four Stars....It should no longer be news that Laurel Zucker, the widely known concert artist is an extraordinary flutist- not just a master technician but a thinking, feeling musician of power."
William Glackin, SACRAMENTO BEE 1993



"Laurel Zucker is a fine flutist with a full lovely sound.The Handel Sonatas are nicely performed, the fast movements brisk, lively, and expertly articulated, the slow movements flowing, beautifully phrased and tastefully ornamented...Robin Sutherland is the fine accompanist and this recording can be recommended..."
FANFARE MAGAZINE 1994



"This is classical music at is very zenith of enjoyment and perfection..."BLOGCRITICS.ORG [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



"With each listen to the Sonatas (30 in total) presented on this breathtaking CD, I became more entranced and charmed with their elegance..."EVOLVINGARTIST.COM [Evolution Scale 9.5/10]
2004. [Read full review]



BUZZLE.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



DMUSIC.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



MUSIC-SITES.NET REVIEW
2004. [Read full review]



Mozart Flute Concertos
Laurel Zucker with Members of the Israel Philharmonic

"In the latest string of Cantilena recordings Laurel Zucker gives fine traditional performances of the two flute concertos and the C major flute quartet of Mozart. A product of Juilliard, Zucker plays with sweet tone and nimble panache, and the orchestra under Zeev Dorman can be surprisingly sonorous. The low strings open the Concerto in G's slow movement with a wonderfully full, mellow tone."
WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL 1995



"Flutist Laurel Zucker brings a clear vision of these popular concerti and backs it with a silver tone and admirable technique. Zucker's tempi are bright and she is delightfully playful in the finale to the D major Concerto, K. 314. The soloist approach to both the concerti is admirably compatible with that of the accompanying members of the Israel Philharmonic. This is a musically impressive outing where Zucker seems perfectly attuned to the repertoire. And Cantilena sound gives just the right amount of brightness to present her to full advantage."
SCRANTON TIMES 1995


"Mozart famously disliked the flute. Writing to his father in 1778 at the time he had been commissioned to compose some flute concertos and quartets by the wealthy Dutch amateur flautist De Jean, he complained that he was "quite powerless" to compose for an instrument that he disliked. Flautists of the time were of course performing on quite different instruments to the ones we are accustomed to hearing now. The Baroque "traverso" had been souped up a little with a wobbly variety..."
MUSICWEB International
2006 [Read full review]



Laurel Zucker with the Erkel Chamber Orchestra of Budapest


"The program of this CD would itself assure certain success. Laurel Zucker is a young American flutist very active in the concert field and on recordings. She has already made dozens of Cds on Cantilena Records with programs ranging from the Baroque to the 20th century and modern works, even including a curious venture into the electronic age with her CD Poetic Justice, which features the electric flute."
I FIATI MAGAZINE - Italy 1996



"Zucker..consistent in beauty of tone, clarity of phrasing and technical security. Also fine is the Erkel Chamber Orchestra, exact and accurate in carrying out its supporting role."
SYRINX MAGAZINE - Italy 1996




Joseph Haydn London Trios & Divertimentos
Laurel Zucker, Renee Siebert, Samuel Magill, and Shirien Taylor

"Laurel Zucker, winner of the 1996-7 Aaron Copland Award from the American Music Center, is featured on teo new CDs from Cantilena Records. Zucker displaysan agile technique and gleaming tone in these Hayn pieces, and she is joined by talented colleagues. Renee Siebert has been a member of the New York Philharmonic since 1974. Samuel Magill is a cellist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, while Shirien Taylor is that orchestra's principal second violinist."
PATRIOT LEDGER - Quincy, Massachusetts 1997



"The flute playing is at a consistent high level: Laurel Zucker's able second flute partner in the London Trios is Renee Siebert. Shirien Taylor is the reliable violinist. Samuel Magill punches out his vigorous bass lines without flaw."
THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR 1997



"Pure Delight! Flutist Laurel Zucker has again provided a lovely look at some of the basic literature. In this outing she has assembled a group of colleagues whose subtly refined musical instincts match her own. With Zucker are flutist Renee Siebert, cellist Samuel Magill in the trios and violinist Shirien Taylor in the divertimenti. There is a felicitous agreement of how this music should be played and the obvious joy of making that so is quite obvious. Moreover, the engineering lets us in on the intimacy of the performances..."
SCRANTON TIMES 1995




Mauro Giuliani Music for Flute and Guitar
Laurel Zucker and Richard Savino

"Guitarist Savino and flutist Zucker present 52 minutes of duets by Italian classical-era master, Mauro Giuliani. Throughout Savino accompanies Zucker sensitively with a rich and warm guitar tone."
ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE 1997



"Laurel Zucker, a West coast flutist with a stunning tone and spectacular technique is joined by guitarist Richard Savino in Giuliani's Grand Sonata, Op.85, Qual Mesto Gemito and Serenata Op. 127. The duo on this recording plays with the joy and expressive freedom inherent in the works. Though the work lies naturally for the two instruments, it has-always-that feeling of being eminently singable."
SCRANTON TIMES 1997



Take a Walk on the Wilder Side
Flute Music by Alec Wilder

"In the past few years Zucker has put out 15 first-rate recordings on the Cantilena label with an astonishing aray of old and new works - including several of her own fine compositions. Whether with guitar or orchestra or harp or piano accompaniment, Laurel Zucker is consistently at the highest level of flute performance. Every flute studio should have avaailable her album of Allstate Favorites (UPC #66011-2) and many of you will want to Take a Walk on the Wilder Side where she plays the complete music for flute by American master, Alec Wilder."
THE FLUTE NETWORK 1998



"I'll try not to turn this review into an advertisement for the California State University Sacramento flute studio, but after listening to Laurel Zucker's performances here I make no promises. None shine as brightly as Julliard -bred Zucker as she combines each melody with a beautiful tone and a proficiency that makes her flute sound the way it was meant to sound."
THE DAVIS ENTERPRISE 1997



"Any fan of the irreplaceable Alec Wilder knows he has displayed an affinity for the woodwind family. He wrote numerous chamber works for flute, most of which are here gratefully gathered in one program by the fearfully proficient Laurel Zucker. Opening with an absolutely haunting, one minute 1976 vignette -Answer to a Poem - Zucker goes on to take in the 1960 Small Suite (written for Samuel Baron): a 1973 Suite for Flute and Harpsichord, two unprecedented pieces for flute and (improvised) bongos, the exceptionally inventive Suite for Flute and Marimba, ... This disc fills an important niche in American music as well as in the flute literature."
FANFARE MAGAZINE 1997



"This tribute to Alec Wilder is a charming and interesting collection of instrumentals that span the wide range of Wilder's eclectic compositions."
THE NORTH NEW JERSEY HERALD 


Twentieth Century Music for Flute & Piano
Laurel Zucker and Marc Shapiro

"For the past several years Laurel Zucker has been systematically recording the major flute literature with Marc Shapiro and, at the same time, making recordings of some lesser-known works....she plays the II of the Hindemith exceptionally well. It is her interpretations of later 20th Century music that Zucker is strongest and has the most imagination."
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE 1999



Native American Stories in Classical Flute Music
Laurel Zucker with CSU Faculty: Richard Savino and Jack Foote

"Native American flute music is a beautiful art form which is seldom recorded by anyone except performers trying to preserve their own Native American heritage. Once those recordings are made, they are generally purchased by tourists looking for a reminder of their vacation. Thus it is a musical art form that has little exposure or innovation. Generally when non-traditional instruments are used for Native American flute music, the attempt is made because a producer wants to create a relatively cheap album for consumers of New Age music. It is far too rare to find an album such as this, where someone who was not raised listening to this music gives it serious consideration and finds ways to express the music to a new audience. Ms. Zucker is an exquisite performer with a long resume, more than twenty successful albums to her credit, and wonderful technique. Thus it is with great interest that one can approach this album. There are few virtuoso flautists with a more adventurous spirit or a more varied collection of recordings to their credit.
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL [Read Full Article]



"Laurel Zucker gives a splendid performance of the John Thow's To Invoke the Clouds...This music is worth getting to know and these performances are very good indeed."
PAN THE JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH FLUTE SOCIETY 1999



"The recent NFA convention in Arizona made many of us more aware of the beauty of Native American flute music. This recording features works inspired by that tradition and interpreted by composers James Demars, Katherine Hoover, John Thow and Victor Frost.These selections truly evoke the spirit of the wooden flute and mood of the tales of the Southwest. Here is another fine example of how a self-produced and distributed recording can yield results as good as any major label or mass market distributor. The playing by Zucker and three of her students on the duet and flute ensemble pieces is a further testament to her teaching and artistry."
THE FLUTE NETWORK 1998




Images for Flute and Harp
Laure and Susan Jolles

"In many ways, this collection of works is exactly what one might expect for this instrument pairing. Dreamy, Debussian works harking back to Afternoon of a Faun, are the order of the day here. I must confess that such homage is not a bad thing at all. Mmes. Zucker and Jolles have compiled an ultimate 'rainy day in the woods' recital, and it makes a very pleasant hour of listening indeed."
MUSICWEB International
2006. [Read full review]


"Images is a spectacular addition to the growing list of fine recordings Zucker has produced. With such interesting, captivating works such as Eolienne by Ida Gotkowsky, Cinque piccoli duetti by Jean Francaix, Trois Images by Theo Smit Sibinga, Sonatine by Victor Frost and Katherine Hoover's Dances and Variations, this recording provides arefreshing survey of 20th century styles of music for flute and harp. The harpistis Susan jolles, who is an admirable partner in the rhythmic and sensitively played harp part."
THE FLUTE NETWORK 2001


Among the expanding repertory of music for those natural partners, the flute and harp, this short (12 minute) sonata stands out for the originality of its melodic treatment, the surprising harmonic shifts, and its general avoidance of "misty" or "impressionistic" harp sounds.
Frost, born in 1952, suffered the loss of his beloved mother in 1982. He writs that in order to distract himself afterwards he wrote the three movements of the sonata, beginning with the final movement, in October 1982.
The work is sad and resigned rather than angry or grief-stricken. It would almost seem as if Frost intended to work out the implications of a single melodic interval, the falling minor third, long used by composers to represent sighs.
The opening movement, Moderato e deciso, is the least wrapped up in this interval, which becomes all pervasive later. The harp starts with arpeggiated minor chords, with the flute entering hesitantly on individual notes. Finally the flute finds a melody, a descending song in which the minor third and minor descending scale figures are prominent, while the harp plays the Classical-era figuration known as an Alberti bass, but very high in the treble. This seems to inspire the flute to make its melody more Classical sounding, but not entirely so.
The second movement is a brief piece marked Con moto. The listener is working backwards towards the higher pitch of the composer's own feelings as the three movements were composed in reverse order. In the second movement, the minor third "sighs" become more obsessive. The movement begins with a rapid flute theme that is mostly all an oscillation down and up the minor third, in a tango rhythm, resulting in a sound that is highly reminiscent of the saddest piece by Astor Piazzolla. A contrasting, more lyrical theme (not in tango rhythm) still has the minor thirds.
The third movement Lento is built on a theme that is riddled with the down and up minor third oscillation; the obsession with the musical symbol of sighing is virtually total. If the flute breaks away from it, the harp immediately locks onto it. The work ends on a mood of resignation, which, Frost says, is "borne in consolation rather than despair."
This is a very striking and memorable addition to the flute and harp repertory that manages to find a fresh and unusual sound.
by Joseph Stevenson, AllMusic.com


Serenades for Flute and Harp
Laurel Zucker and Sara Cutler (harpist)

"I am very impressed with Laurel Zucker's collaboration with harpist, Sara Cutler. Cutler's harp transcriptions of the familiar pieces are all excellent, and her warm precise playing is always in impeccable expressive taste. I like the harpist's precision and the flutist's freedom..."
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE 1995



"This is an appealing collection, particularly valuable for the fine performances of the Hovhaness and Persichetti pieces. The disc is nicely recorded, with a warm clear sound."
FANFARE MAGAZINE 1995



Inflorescence: Music for Solo Flute
Laurel Zucker

"On this two-CD set Zucker plays the core of the 20th century literature for solo flute. Holding a listeners attention for over two hours of any solo instrument is an accomplishment, but Zucker carries off this feat with ease with her brilliant technique, variety of colors, and convincing interpretations. Included are solo pieces by Ibert, Liebermann, Muczynski, Feld, Honegger, Hindemith, Francaix, Kuhlau, Takemitsu, Hovhaness, Fukushima, Kay, Blumberg, Nielsen, and Varese. Last are three pieces by Zucker herself. In fact my only reservation about all these fine recordings she is bringing out is that I fear this may be distracting her from writing her own compositions. She is a composer who deserves much wider recognition."
THE FLUTE NETWORK 2001




The Complete J.S. Bach Flute Sonatas
Laurel Zucker, Gerald Ranck, and Samuel Magill

"Zucker's interpretations are splendid all round -as polished and gratifying as those by Galway and Rampal. Her tone is airy and sweet, her virtuosity graceful. One might describe her style as old-fashioned, since it seems more concerned with sculpting phrases and nurturing Bach's expansive melodies...

Perhaps the most endearing quality of Zucker's playing is its naturalness. Her account of the well - known Siciliana of the Sonata in E flat is blessedly unencumbered by any expressive emphases, and is all the more touching as a result. Harpsichordist, Gerald Ranck is a worthy partner, playing in a similarly plainspoken manner.

If the quality of these interpretations is any indication, then Zucker's students at California State University, Sacramento - whom she graciously credits in the CD booklet- are in very good hands indeed."
GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE 2002



"The performance is delightful, stylistically accurate for the period, and tasteful in all respects. The program notes are informative as to the authenticity issues that surround several of the Bach sonatas."
FLUTE TALK MAGAZINE 2002




Twelve Fantasies for Flute
Georg Philipp Telemann

AN INTELLIGENT NATURALLY PHRASED AND HIGHLY MUSICAL TELEMANN TRAVERSAL
"Telemann's Fantasies were clearly composed for the edification and pleasure of flautists, but they also delight the listener - especially when the performances are as warmly communicative as these.

Laurel Zucker emphasizes the element of fantasy suggested in the music's title through the judicious use of rubato, thoughtful and varied articulation, and stylish, expressive ornamentation.

She also delineates the individual character of each fantasy, making the serene melody of No. 4 into a lovely little aria, for example, and finding pomp in the dotted rhythms of No. 7. It's actually a joy to listen to the entire set in one sitting. Her wide toal palette is an enhancement.

Certainly the intelligence and naturalness of her phrasing - also a highlight of her recording of Bach Sonatas (US,1/02) - are beyond reproach."

Andrew Farach-Colton - Gramophone Magazine
August 2003. [Read full review]




Inflorescence II: Music for Solo Flute
Laurel Zucker

The Flute Network June 2003 recommends...
"Oh! she's done it again - another brilliant two CD set of some of the best and most interesting works for solo flute. zucker brings to this collection of solos the kind of variety of intensity, high level musicality, and just plain perfect technique and intonation that makes it all a joy to listen to. These performances are so clear, open, direct and from the heart that it all seems so simple and easy, which belies the incredible work and accomplishment that goes into all of her many and diverse recordings. This collection of works for flute alone is a worthy successor to her earlier Inflorecence solo compilation.
The 14 works presented have a varied style and pace, shaping the individual pieces into a very satifisfying whole that includes a dazzling array of brilliant compositions and extraordinary flute playing. Her rapturous tone, rhythmic drive, and creative musicianship will inspire you. Inflorescence, indeed, this recording is WHITE HOT AND INCANDESCENT!
THE FLUTE NETWORK 2003 [Read full review]



"I can not resist the urge to write wonderful things about her CD and about her. Zucker's superior technique and tone are evident from start to finish....She and recording engineer, Don Ososke, did a masterful job of highlighting the textures of the individual pieces, while minimizing the pitfalls that typically befall solo recordings.
THE DAVIS ENTERPRISE - MAY 8, 2003




Flute Music by French Composers
Laurel Zucker

"Flute Music by French Composers music makes you feel like you are dancing on the clouds with angels and Laurel Zucker plays the flute as if she was ordained by the Holy Spirit to do so. For classical music, it simply does not get any better than this. I feel all music has a direct connection to heaven and this particular set of compositions gave me a front row seat inside the pearly gates."
MUSIC-SITES.NET
2004. [Read full review]



"This is very peaceful and serene music, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. The energy is subdued yet purposeful. This is the type of music made for those with discriminating tastes and an ear for perfection in the classical music genre. The bonus track is the piece de resistance of the entire recording clocking in at 11:59. It ends this CD in fitting fashion, reaching a crescendo of blissfulness that is hard to find in any music."
BLOGCRITICS.ORG [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



"From a listener's perspective, all of these compositions must be very difficult to master. The fact that Ms. Zucker takes one piece from each individual French composer and molds it into a born again masterpiece is a credit to her steadfast dedication to the artistry of flute playing."
EVOLVINGARTIST.COM [Evolution Scale 9.5/10]
2004. [Read full review]



BUZZLE.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



ZONGOO.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



PROGRESSIVEWORLD.NET [Rated 5/5]
2004. [Read full review]




The Claude Bolling Suites for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio
Laurel Zucker, Joe Gilman, Jeff Neighbor, David Rokeach

"Dear Laurel Zucker, Your recording is beautiful, musician partners are excellent and your flute playing superb!!!"
CLAUDE BOLLING - March 17, 2004.



"Bolling sees his suites, which make use of musical methods from both classical and jazz traditions, not as examples of fusion but of dialogue between musical idioms. The 1973 Suite was the first of a whole series of such works and was composed for performance by Jean Pierre Rampal - later ones have been written for, amongst others Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman and Maurice Andre."
MUSICWEB International
2006. [Read full review]



"The marriage of jazz and classical music is not a new concept. The Paul Whiteman Orchestra would regularly use European music as an entry point for their audience in the early days of commercial jazz. Stan Kenton attempted to fuse the two worlds with great success in the 1940s and 1950s. More recently, Wynton Marsalis explored the concept of jazz/classical fusion with his Blood on the Fields. Then, of course, there is the great George Gershwin. However, these fusions are all attempted with larger groups, taking the big band as a basis and adding further instrumentation to bring grandeur."
MUSICWEB International
2006. [Read full review]



"About an hour and a half of refined West Coast jazz excellently composed and performed ..."
Patrick Gary - MusicWeb. 2004. [Read full review]



"If you wish to add Bolling's delightful, unpretentious suites to your collection, this beautifully recorded release has "first choice" written all over it."
Jed Distler - Classics Today. 2004. [Read full review]



"As always, her performances are lyrical and soaring, the intonation flawless, and the rhythmic clean and driving. Laurel brings out the character of these pieces with a luxuriant tone, a singing and subtly expressive vibrato, and utterly liquid leaps..."
THE FLUTE NETWORK
2004. [Read full review]



"Indeed, it takes a special group of talented musicians to play this music in a convincing and proper manner. After listening to both CDs, I found all of those factors in place that made for a particularly wonderful listening experience."
DMUSIC.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



"All 15 tracks are a truly amazing exhibition of musicianship and musical perfection note by note. I must also point your attention to the fact that each member is such an important piece of this musical puzzle, although Zucker's flute stands out, the piano of Gilman, the bass of Neighbor and the percussion of Rokeach is extraordinary. They all work very well together and compliment each other's parts wonderfully."
EVOLVINGARTIST.COM [Rated 9.5/10]
2004. [Read full review]



"...The reason this works so well is that they draw from so many wellsprings of musical diversity. This CD set is proof that classical music can work with any genre of music if you do it right."
MUSIC-SITES.NET
2004. [Read full review]




The Complete Kuhlau Flute Duos & Divertissements
Laurel Zucker and Renee Siebert

"You might think that just over two hours of music for flutes and nothing but flutes would be awfully boring, but, no, it certainly is not. We don't mind listening to two hours of piano music, or vocal music, or organ music, or two full disks of the Bach solo cello suites. And perhaps the point is that the flute, or two flutes, are capable of a great range of expression and just as capable of holding our attention as other instruments. Also this music is fascinating, constantly new and full of life and adventure. I assume these are teaching pieces, or are at least used as teaching pieces, and these excellent flutists decided to make them available to the public in this recording. "
MUSICWEB International
2006. [Read full review]



"One of my best holiday treats this year was just having time for repeated listening to this fine recording. (One of three recordings produced this year by Zucker: See also her recent album 'Hope; Music from Israel and South American' for a nice variety of works for flute, voice and guitar, on Cantilena CD66027-2). This two-CD recording of Friedrich Kuhlaus, Opus 10 and Opus 102 Duos for two flutes and the six solo Divertissement from Opus 68 should have interest far beyond the community of flute players (who cherish these works for recreational and teaching purposes) and it is sure to enthrall the general audience as well. In fact, these performances by Zucker and Siebert are so strong, so musical, so technically dazzling, and so compelling that even your friends and colleagues (who may have only known of Kuhlau from having learned his simpler and more straight forward sonatinas in their early piano study) will be forced to reconsider his place in music history and come to view him as the 'Beethoven of the Flute.' The duets are like small symphonies and the solo divertissements are equal to the best coloratura operatic writing of the bel canto period.

And these performances bring out every nuance and dramatic gesture. The intonation is flawless, the balance is superb, and the ensemble is sympathetic. Although they live on opposite coasts, these two flutists play as if they were joined at the hip at birth. Alternating on the first parts of the duets, it is almost impossible to tell any difference in style or tone. They are both completely at the service of the music and in complete control, with a wide dynamic range, highly expressive rubatos, smooth tempos changes and phrasing, and a strong sense of direction in the musical line that pulls you along with them. (J.E.P.)
The Flute Network Recommends


"The Best New Recordings From North America. In the mood to be charmed? Kuhlau's your man. Passages in thirds can thrill, the Variations on an Old Swedish air in opus 102 can charm.... Recorded at Concordia College in New York, the sound is excellent, as one would expect when Grammy-winning Adam Abeshouse is involved..."
Gramophone Magazine,  December 2004 (Page A9-10)


"I principally enjoyed the way the two flutists captured the different moods and colors that Kahlau established within his intricate compositions. Their technical expertise with their instruments and complete understanding of the meaning and overall intent of the music allow the listener the pleasure of a candid look into the mind of one of the world's great composers."
DMUSIC.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



"I am finding out through several albums of listening pleasure recently that Laurel Zucker is one of the very best flutists in the world today and she aligns herself on projects with the best in the industry. On this 2-disc set, she combines her graceful talents with those of another renowned and respected flutist, Renee Siebert...."
EVOLVINGARTIST.COM [Evolution Scale  9.5/10]
2004. [Read full review]



BUZZLE.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



BLOGCRITICS.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



ZONGOO.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



MUSIC-SITES.NET REVIEW
2004. [Read full review]



Caliente!
Laurel Zucker and Christopher Caliendo

"Artist, publisher, composer Christopher Caliendo teams up with virtuoso classical flute player Laurel Zucker for this powerful and exciting CD of world music.

Through all thirteen tracks we have complex guitar rhythms and passionately graceful flute playing, opening with 'Sincerita,' a flashing flute to a Flamenco style. 'Caliente!' is a samba with attitude and 'Amor Perdido' sad and pure, Laurel's flute cutting the still air with a deep-felt emotion to the very last note.

'Risorgimento' is a fandango with more passion, and 'Coraggio' a tango with complex guitar rhythms that hold all the forbidden qualities of the dance-loving, sharp, dark and moody.

'Rinascimento' is a perfect example of world music, incorporating just about a segment of everything: Spanish folk, American Jazz, South American classical, Argentine milonga, and Tin Pan Alley.

'Remembranza' has a furiously complex guitar rhythm coupled to a dashing flute. 'Contigo' offers a bolero with a dark and haunting melodic line. The final track is 'Meditazione,' a love song that is lilting, sweet, and classical.

Caliendo composes with flare, and Zucker rises to it. There is a powerful life force in their playing; it is transporting, soaring and open. If you have a love for the guitar and flute, this is irresistible."

Ferdinand Maylin - New Sounds Publication October 2005 issue Review in JAZZNOW


"It all provides for the complete entertainment experience - listening, relaxation and literary, indeed three factors that can be most gratifying when you are trying to wind down and forget the stresses of everyday life."

Keith the Musikman - BUZZLE.COM
[Rated 10/10] 2004. [Read full review]

[Relax, have a bath, and BUY THIS CD at BATH TUB MUSIC]



"...highly original 'Caliendo' feel - the soulful, passionate, energetic expression of a composer with a special appreciation for this combination of flute and guitar. These works evoke nostalgia, hypnotic dervish dances, and the spirit of the dance."

THE FLUTE NETWORK
2004. [Read full review]



"Caliente! - Laurel Zucker and Christopher Caliendo - World Music for Flute and Guitar" is everything it advertises to be. Laurel Zucker is an amazing flutist that has made a beautiful transition to an entirely unknown realm..."

JAZZREVIEW.COM
2004. [Read full review]



THE SACRAMENTO BEE
2004. [Read full review]


ZONGOO.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



BLOGCRITICS.COM [Rated 10/10]
2004. [Read full review]



MUSIC-SITES.NET REVIEW
2004. [Read full review]



EVOLVINGARTIST.COM
2004. [Read full review]




HOPE: Music from Israel and South America
Ronit Widmann, Laurel Zucker, Daniel Akiva

"This record is one of many instances where the player of a 'minority' instrument has grabbed the bull by the horns and created a record label to pro-actively push forward the repertoire for their instrument. Even where there are compositions for these instruments they are often too rarely heard; so it's hats off to Laurel Zucker who is one of the prime movers behind Cantilena Records. She is a fine flautist with an exceptional technique combining the utmost precision with the most stunningly beautiful sound. Here she is partnered by Ronit Widmann-Levy, a soprano with a clear and lovely voice with many colours and tight control just where it matters. Completing the trio of artists is guitarist/composer Daniel Akiva whose mellow sound perfectly complements the other two and whose music accounts for about 50of the disc. The rest is divided between that by Haim Permont, an Israeli of Lithuanian origin and Astor Piazolla and Villa-Lobos. It is the latter two's music that helps explain the disc's subtitle: Music from Israel and South America. If at first that seems an unlikely combination then it soon becomes obvious that there are clear connexions between the two. The influences drawn upon by composer Daniel Akiva are those of the Sephardic Jewish tradition and though there are links with the Balkans too the disc has a strong overall feeling of Spain permeating throughout.
All the compositions make powerful cases for themselves and the soloists, and the two Israeli composers are ones to look out for if the music on this record is anything to go by. They make powerful statements about suffering and hope; indeed it is Haim Permont's 2003 composition HOPE that gives the disc its main title, taking its words from Emily Dickinson's poem 'Hope Is The Thing'. It was especially composed for this recording. Daniel Akiva's compositions are both robust as well as beautiful and he writes extremely well for the voice; likewise for his chosen instruments. He has successfully adapted the first work on the disc Siniza I Fumo (Ashes and Smoke) from a work for much greater forces. I thought highly of all his music on the record and particularly enjoyed the Jerusalem de Espa which one could easily mistake for a work by a Spanish or Latin American composer, so strongly are the Spanish ties asserted. Piazzolla's composition Histoire du Tango for flute and guitar is wonderfully evocative of Buenos Aires from the turn of the 19th century to today. Villa-Lobos's Distribution of the flowers is a joy, as is everything of his I've ever heard.
I really enjoyed this disc and can be sure that I'll be playing it often and what greater compliment can one give?"
- Steve Arloff
MUSICWEB International
2006.



Master Music for Flute and Piano
Laurel Zucker and Marc Shapiro

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 (not Mullerleider, Cantilena) op. 25 makes a and poetic rare appearance in this classically-based collection. The extended and inventive Variations are on the song Trockne (not TrochneBlumenfrom 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."
CD Insight


The Dark Side of the Flute
Laurel Zucker and Marc Shapiro

"Even in the world of classical, where the music and listeners are well educated and refined, you can find some humor in a serious world. Laurel Zucker (flute) and Marc Shapiro have united once again to record compositions that look at the darker side of music on The Dark Side of the Flute (a play on words with the Pink Floyd classic Dark Side of The Moon). As Laurel talks about in the liner notes, the flute is normally uplifting and bubbly; however looking at the darker places of the mind and the time and space that it inhabits is an entirely different way to use the instrument.

Zucker and Shapiro travel down the road of composers dating back to the 1700s such as Christophe von Gluck. There are 13 tracks with two suites, tracks 3-7 and 9-11. The suites are the most impressive work as they take you through a story without words. Zucker's flute carries with it emotion and the vicissitudes of life while Shapiro walks right alongside her, playing equally effective piano. The two instruments make musical interplay a joy to hear.

It has been a while since I explored the music of this renowned flutist and now I can renew my interest once again. There are four other recordings out now as well. Surely each one is quite different from the other and will challenge my imagination and heighten my senses. I enjoyed the pensive anticipation this music made me feel and the relaxing atmosph"
Radio Gets Wild



"Musical interplay a joy to hear."
Radio Get Wild
[Read full review]




Madrigal for Flute and Piano
Laurel Zucker with Marc Shapiro (Pianist)

Laurel Zucker and Mark Shapiro continue their longstanding musical alliance with yet another superb release titled Madrigal for Flute and Piano. This is their seventh release on Cantilena Records. The duo is creating quite a legacy of classical renderings and this particular release is one the stands out amongst the many I have enjoyed over the years.
Ms. Zucker and Mr. Shapiro are in exceptional form performing music from various composers from the 18th and 19th century. Reineke, Gaubert, Hue, Boehm, and Doppler are the honored composers on this outing.
The term 'madrigal' has two distinct, unconnected meanings: a poetic and musical form of 14th-century Italy, and a 16th- or 17th-century setting of secular verse. This is ongoing education for me personally, both listening and understanding the meaning of the titles. I find it all very fascinating and can see how this beautiful music has lasted through the ages. Classical music is where it all starts and ends and everything we hear that is from a different genre stems from it. There was a day that I would have said that statement was rubbish but now I know much better.
The nine tracks take you through a story from a place far away in time with the ebb and tide of a musical ocean that seems to flow right over you while listening. This music is exciting, sad, tragic, and full of the many colors of the soul. Without uttering a word this music is so powerful, alone that it does need a single word to express itself. The flute is a beautiful instrument and if used properly it can bring out many different atmospheres, particularly when it combines with another instrument like a piano. The give and take that this dynamic duo formulates in each composition is an ongoing dialogue with their instruments that holds strong and true from the beginning to the end of this recording.
Madrigal for Flute and Piano is music that resonates through the universe and will continue to do so thanks to the fine artists performing, Laurel Zucker and Mark Shapiro. Thank you both for another classic that I intend to enjoy for many years to come.
Music Dish
[Read full review]




The Complete W.F. Bach Flute Duos
Laurel Zucker and Sara Andon

This recording contains a series of six splendid works for two flutes by Wilhelm Friedeman Bach (1710-1784), the eldest son of J.S. Bach: the Duettos in e minor, E major, F major, G major, E major; and f minor. The flute seems to have been a special favorite of W.F. Bach; the great majority of his chamber music works feature the flute. These pieces for two flutes have a distinct and individual character that is refreshing and appealing. W.F. Bach combines some of the best features of Baroque and Pre-classic gallant styles with an Romantic sentiment. While it might seem a bit obsessive to listen to all of the duos straight through at one sitting, they are very interesting and original pieces that would do well when stored in the random play mode of your IPod or MP3 player. (This is the kind of music you “wish” your local coffee house would put on their playlists to accompany your morning brew and frappuccinos treats. As played by this fine pair, W.F. Bach’s music has the bite and vigor of expresso and the smoothness of latte while adding a froth-like sweetness on top.)
Zucker and Andon have lovely sounds, with matching colors, intensities, vibrato speeds, and phrasing. This “twinning,” combined with their impeccable intonation and singing interpretations, makes the beautiful suspensions and parallel thirds achingly beautiful at times. You will want to hear more--and they have also released recently two other fine CDs of Mozart’s Duets and of J.S. Bach’s Trio Sonatas. [Full-disclosure: Sara Andon is a graduate of my university, Cal State San Bernardino, and we are justly proud of her.]
The Flute Network Recommends: From the April 2008 issue



"Laurel Zucker and Sara Andon combine their expertise as flautist in the realm of classical music. Both women are virtuoso performers, veterans that have performed and recorded for many years.
The Complete W.F. Bach Flute Duos is an ambitious set being that is a complete group of compositions featuring the genius of Bach. This is not new territory for either performer and that becomes rather obvious right from the start to the very end of the CD.
Laurel is brilliant with adapting her style of playing with other artists and this is yet another triumph for her. Sara is equally adept; in fact, it is very difficult to tell which artist is playing at any given moment, because they compliment each other so well. I imagine someone that has been listening to them for years would be able to pick out all the subtle nuances and varying tones; however, my ear is not trained as of yet to detect this. In the end, it did not matter to me as I enjoyed the entire recording.
Each musician has a way of taking each composition and making it their own and using their partner as a place to get answers to the call of their lovely notes that seamlessly flow out of their flutes. It is as if the ladies were pied pipers leading me into the forest of enchantment. Of course, this music is much more complex and difficult to play then some perky ditty on a woodwind; I found this to be a kind of magical frame of reference to use for my own entertainment. This is definitely a slice of heaven to be cherished and a great way to relax and appreciate one of the great masters of music."
Band Weblogs


Romanza Andaluza for Flute and Guitar
Laurel Zucker and Mark Delpriora

Zucker's gorgeous tone, tasteful phrasing and breath control here meet the clean and pleasingly judged playing of Marc Delpriora in a collection with an Hispanic emphasis. The Sarasate strikes a warm egalitarian balance between the two instruments and is well within the Iberian style. The little known Pessard is represented by a graceful Andalouse. The four movement Buenos Aires (1995) by Pujol ‘unlulls’ us into something with vitality and snappy jazzy pace in Pompeya, finds a classical style for the cool evening of Palermo, syncopated playfulness in San Telmo and finally in this ever so slightly commercial suite comes Microcentro with its anxious welter of interleaved down-pattering figures and siren wails. The other two part Pujol work is similar in its engaging atmosphere and well worth hearing for its poetry and rhythmic urgency. I recommend hearing the Candombe de los Buenos Tiempo for its optimistic throwing aside of the pervasive heat. It has a remarkably engaging liveliness complete with percussive effects delivered against the bodywork of the guitar. Rodrigo'sAria Antiqua does indeed look back to earlier ages in music of largely slow dignity. There is more of that in the Andante moderato of the Serenata al alba del Dia but the better known Rodrigo of the guitar concertos can be discerned very clearly in the Allegro at tr. 12. Gonzalez's lighter-heartedDanza de los Amantes Efimeros was originally for violin and guitar but has been transcribed by Zucker. This Colombian composer's piece has an original and fantastical air breaking out of any suggestion of hackneyed territory. The disc finishes with three transcriptions from Granados's Danzas espagnoles amongst which the clever and endearing Danza triste stands out (tr. 14).

Len Mullenger of Music Web International


2006 review "a slice of heaven!"
DMusic.com
[Read full review]


Medieval Dances for Flute and Harp
Laurel Zucker (Flutist), Susan Jolles (Harpist)

Laurel Zucker and Susan Jolles present a highly lyrical premiere recording of George Frederick McKay\'s Suite for Harp and Flute, which expresses a warm love of life, and explores ancient mysteries that drift quietly through our world.
- Fred McKay



The 'Triple Rondo' here has a very demanding harp part, to which Jolles more than lives up. The music is played with sensitivity and passion.

Lauber's 'Four Medieval Danses' cheerful and executed with wit and restraint, yet exposing the tuneful creativity to just the right degree, this can be enjoyed alongside Jongen's 'Danse Lente', which is fresh and light.

The emphasis is on a relatively unexplored corner of the American instrumental repertoire from the past century and a quarter. The tradition in which these composers are working is squarely American as influenced by European impressionism. There is inventive, delicate and energetic music making and Zucker and Jolles make persuasive advocates for the composers they perform.
- Mark Sealey, MUSIC WEB


Sonata da Camera for Flute & Harp
Laurel Zucker & Susan Jolles

Roberto Sierra (b. 1953) wrote his set of ten miniatures, Flower Pieces in 1994. They are short warm and sensuous. Everything breathes a warm and fragrant beauty. A Puerto Rican who studied with Ligeti, Sierra's music is in this case sensuous and melodic - a near cousin to Ravel's Introduction and Allegro. Alwyn's Naiades is designated a Fantasy-Sonata and its ecstatic light-bathed warmth, a degree more sultry than the Sierra, is evidence of Alwyn's grounding as a professional flautist. Zucker shows the ability to hold wondrously long notes with seemingly endless breath reserves and little aural evidence of gasps of breath. Nuncio F Mondello was better known in America’s jazz band circuit as Toots Mondello. His pensively melancholic Poem shows Mondello's other face as a classical composer in the warm Ravelian tradition. Marius Flothuis wrote his Sonata da Camera in a Dutch concentration camp in 1943. Its movements are by turns dreamy-warm, slyly jazzy, slow motion Havanaise and evening whimsy. David Noon was a pupil of Davidovsky and Milhaud and has had a most distinguished academic career in the USA. His Sonata da Camera in four movements breaks the sultry-ecstatic mood of the rest of the disc with some lively, rhythmic, good-humoured fun, breaking off only in the long Sarabande for a touching and yearningly nostalgic moment - not at all archaic in its resonance.

Len Mullenger of Music Web International


"The recording is just gorgeous! Bravo to you and Susan!"
- Roberto Sierra, composer


"Captivating collection for a beguiling partnership of flute and harp.
Flautist Laurel Zucker and harpist Susan Jolles play with such beguiling expressivity that every work, no matter how pastoral or exotic it may be, sounds like something special. The music they play here is captivating in all sorts of ways. Roberto Sierra's Flower Pieces characterise nine species in a series of fragrant vignettes, indepted to perhaps to Debussy and Ravel but graceful depicted and varied in coloration. William Alwyn, a distinguished British flautist when he wasn't teaching or composing, paints an alluring portrait of the Greek nymphs of lakes in his Naiades Fantasy-Sonata. Flute and harp exult in flowing phrases and graceful interplay. Music lovers in the jazz world know Nuncio F. Mondello as Toots Mondello, a legendary jazz saxophonist. But he also composes on a less syncopated turf, including a Poem for flute and harp that is as vibrantly animated as it is sweetly lyrical.

The disc''s title Sonata da camera, is drawn from works by Dutch composer Marius Flothuis and American composer David Noon. Flothuis composed his Opus 42 in a Nazi concentration camp in the Netherlands in 1943, though the music only hints at despair. Instead, Flothuis emphasises the winsome and enchanting personalities of the flute and harp in four short movements of warm invention. Noon'spiece is a spunky collection with nods to Baroque forms.

'Zucker shapes everything with lovely gradations of timbre and nuance, and her phrasing keeps the ear mesmerised.' The harp parts have a shimmering champion in Jolles, who accompanies deftly when she isn't asserting her place in the musical scheme of things."

Gramophone Magazine December 2007 issue (pages A8-9)
-Donald Rosenberg


Pollack Plays Jazz: Flute & Guitar Duo
Laurel Zucker & Mark Delpriora

"What a beautiful recording!" - Roberto Sierra, composer





Laurel Zucker (flute) and Mark Delpriora (guitar)
Cantilena Records 66036-2

WIth no less than 38 CD releases from medieval dances, Native American flute music and the complete flute sonatas of G. F. Handel and W. F. Bach, through to modern compositions in a multiplicity of styles including flamenco, rock and jazz, plus an enviable c.v. listing as long as your arm, the indefatigable American virtuoso flautist Laurel Zucker here teams up with the admirably stylish guitarist, Mark Delpriora, in a programme of exceptionally good music all composed within the turn of the last millennium, all except the original work by Zucker herself, a charmingly, Debussy-like expressive work inspired by the delightful children's story "The Yearling" by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

The three works by Puerto Rican composer Roberto Sierra, chronicle the cultural impact of the historical encounter 500 years ago between the indigenous natives of the Caribbean islands and the Spanish Conquistadors. There is beauty and violence in this powerfully evocative set of 20-or-so minutes' worth of music and, certainly for me, this has to be the outstanding contribution to this programme.

The title track, Pollack Plays Jazz by the American jazz pianist and composer Jack Perla, features just three movements from an eight-movement suite (incorrectly given as seven movements in the sleeve notes) with each movement on this recording being a homage of sorts to, respectively guitarist Ralph Towner, Ennio Morricone and Ben Pollack (drummer and band-leader from the 1920's 'swing' era. Incidentally, the cover design for this CD was painted by the multi-talented Laurel Zucker and, with a pretty neat pun, is a tribute to the 20th century abstract expressionist artist, Jackson Pollock.

The British composer, flautist and jazz saxophonist, Mike Mower's four movement Suite for Flute and Guitar concludes this entertaining programme in an easy-on-the-ear, light-weight jazzy and stylish fashion and is a notable way to end a most refreshing new release.

With strong performances throughout by both performers, and high quality recording sound, this is a disc I can thoroughly recommend.

Steve Marsh, Classic Guitar Magazine, Britain




This disc opens with The Yearling, written by flute player Laurel Zucker, who is also one of the performers on this disc. We can assume, then, that this is a definitive recording, with the composer in complete control of the overall sound; the performers also served as producers on this CD. The piece has traditional harmony with the character of a fantasy, fitting in well with much of the flute?s repertoire. Dedicated to the guitarist Mark Delpriora, this piece takes its title from the novel by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. It features a well executed extensive guitar solo [2:46], and the flute re-entry [5:15] is sensitively played, with Zucker changing her tone to suit a more delicate melody.

Roberto Sierra's Cronica del Descubriemento is a substantial work in three parts, telling the tales of the meeting between the native Indians of the Caribbean and the Spanish conquistadors. The haunting opening is played with a good sense of its improvisatory character. The ensemble collaborate well together, with the guitar working like clockwork under the floating flute line. The complex rhythms of the Danza were accurately handled with a good sense of lightness and flow. Zucker's flute sound is warm and her playing transports the listener to the atmosphere of a Caribbean Island. The second chronicle is the longest of the three. Noche has a beautifully played opening, which conjures up images of insects and of invisible things making sounds in the night. The music-making is full of character, and the beginning is particularly effective in contrast to the previous movement. Later, melodic fragments from earlier in the work become increasingly apparent. The ethereal sounds towards the end of the movement, including breeze sounds, pitch bends and whistle tones in the flute are convincingly played. En busca del oro (in search of gold) has an almost oriental character, due to the repeated use of particular pitches, which build up tension and drama. Zucker has beautiful evenness of tone and a singing high register, here supported by expressive and sensitive guitar playing. The final part of the Chronicles begins with an improvisatory flute line over a guitar melody. The piece ends with the Batalla (battle). The composer's metronome indications seem quite slow, and this performance was perhaps a little too sedate for a fiery battle. The guitar solo had a sense of energy and drive which was lacking when the ensemble was together. The pizzicato effects work well in both parts, with Zucker executing a difficult technique with flair. The flow was sometimes disrupted by over long tenutos in the flute. The rhythmic writing is complex, with both parts contradicting each other and conflicting against the underlying pulse. I felt in general that this was a little too 'nice' - I wanted the sparks to fly with more violence and aggression! On the whole, though, this was a fine performance, with plenty of character and good technical control.

Jack Perla?s Pollack Plays Jazz is a newly composed work which was written specially for this duo. This CD contains three of the eight movements; the complete work is set for release next year. Towner Country is gently undulating, with an American feel. The music is wide and expansive, and the momentum carries the work along. There is excellent control from both players. Zucker handles the high quiet melody in Spaghetti Western with apparent ease. Fuzz Box captures the spirit of 1970s Rock and Roll, and provides wonderful variety, with some fantastic guitar effects. This is refreshingly different in comparison to the traditional flute and guitar sound.

This CD was the first I?d heard of a Mike Mower piece for this combination of instruments and I was excited by the idea. Mower's music is well known by flute players for its sense of fun, fusing jazz style with contemporary classical. The Suite for Flute and Guitar was no disappointment. This delivers a virtuosic display for both performers, and was admirably handled by these two players. The first movement is short and explosive, followed by a dreamy second movement, which is full of atmosphere. This includes some playful percussive and flutter-tongued effects which interrupt the melodic line [0:52] and inject further energy. The third movement was my favourite, with its funky guitar riff. This is typical of Mike Mower's writing: enjoyable to listen to and, from the sounds of it, enjoyable to play. The players captured the style well ? these are performers who can handle anything. Here, they transport us from the concert hall to a smoky jazz club. The final movement is fast and typically playful. There is a great sense of ensemble and a strong, well-constructed melodic line. The composer demonstrates an excellent understanding of the instruments and how they work together. He once again uses percussion, and the melody breaks down completely into tapping and clapping from both players [4:56].

This is overall an enormously enjoyable recording evincing high standards, both in performance and in production values. The players should be congratulated for their adventurous programming and for bringing these new works to the attention of the public. These are polished performances, well balanced and technically accurate.

Carla Rees , MusicWeb






Classical Masterpieces for Flute & Guitar
Laurel Zucker & Mark Delpriora

"Classical Masterpieces For Flute & Guitar" by Laurel Zucker & Mark Delpriora is a collection of classical compositions that every classical fan should own! With nothing more than their two instruments, Laurel and Mark demonstrate their mastery of music and their instruments, through their innovative and eloquent creations. Laurel and Mark's performances are very tight on these musically complex tracks, and provide emotional dynamics throughout the tracks, clearly showing the work of accomplished musicians. For most of these tunes, the flute assumes the lead melody while the guitar provides a soothing and graceful rhythm foundation. The recording quality of the CD is crystal clear, which allows the beautiful instrumentation to shine through. Fans of classical instrumentals, set the tone for relaxing evenings with this CD as your soundtrack!
-RadioIndy.com and Xavier P.


Inflorescence III: Music for Solo Flute
Laurel Zucker

"Flute Network Recommends....Inflorescence III- Music for Solo Flute performed by Laurel Zucker. A two CD package released on Cantilena Records 66042-2
This the third set of recordings of unaccompanied flute solos produced by Zucker and she has outdone herself... again!  An "inflorescence" is a characteristic arrangement of flowers on a stemor a flower cluster, and this is indeed, a profuse flowering.  As she explores further afield from the standard repertoire, Zucker has turned up some very special new solo pieces by major contemporary composers, including Philip Glass', Arabesque in Memorium for solo flute;  Jack Perla's Partita for Solo Flute; Daniel Dorff's  August  Idyll  for Solo flute;  Bruce Lazarus's  Far corners for Solo flute; Marius Flothuis' Aude and Picolla Fantasia;  Harald Genzmer's Pan for Solo Flute; William Jay Sydeman's For Solo Flute; Roberto Sierra's Mariposas for Solo Flute; David Kechley'sSummers Passing In Memorium Jerilee Taverniti Kechley;  and Laurel Zucker's own delightful Dog Toy Suite  as well as some less familiar older works that deserve more performances: Anton Stamitz' Eight Caprices for Flute;  J.J. Quantz'  Caprices and Fantasies for Flute; Savario Mercadante's  Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Sonata No. 2 in F and Sonata No. 3 in E minor; Arcangelo Corelli's La Folia Variations." 



© Laurel Zucker 2004-2017.

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