CD Review: Something Like This – Emily Granger & Sally Walker

by | Nov 27, 2023 | Ambassador thoughts, CD/Recording, Composer, Flute, harp

Emily Granger and Sally Walker | Something Like This

CD released October, 2023

In their first CD collaboration, flautist Sally Walker and harpist Emily Granger combine the old with the new. In fact, the old is presented in a fresh new light with arrangements and transcriptions by Granger in the Mozart Flute and Harp Concerto (C K299 second movement Andantino); an interesting Sonata in G minor for Violin (Flute) and Obbligato Harpsichord BWV1020/H.542.5 attributed to JS Bach but thought to possibly be the work of one of his sons, CPE Bach, resulting in two catalogue numbers; and Satie’s famous Gymnopedies Nos. 1 & 3, particularly No.1 for solo harp.
The Bach piece is essentially a Trio Sonata in three movements, fast-slow-fast, as was typical of the time. It is very elegant with memorable ascending and descending arpeggios played by Granger.
The opening work on the CD called Ode, composed by Lachlan Skipworth, is an ethereal piece with a lovely lilting rhythm conveying the meaning of its title, namely an English poetic form. Fittingly, it was dedicated to Walker’s late father, James, as was the title track Something Like This, composed by Elena Kats-Chernin, which is meditative with a quiet ending, once again in solemn memory of James.
Djagamara is a melancholic work dedicated to an indigenous friend of the composer, Christopher Sainsbury. It ends rather lightly to remind us of the lost spirit of James Djagamara MacLeod who died tragically young.
These contemporary works were followed by Ibert’s popular Entr’acte, from his incidental music Le Medicin de son honneur, a lively contrast infused with Spanish flamenco rhythms, particularly on the harp. This version for flute or violin with harp or guitar was published two years after the original version in 1935.
Lutoslawski’s Three Fragments for Flute and Harp or Piano are a new discovery for me. As the titles of the first 2 movements, Magic (by Theocritus) and Odysseus in Ithaca, suggest, the work draws on ancient themes consistent with the fact both the flute and harp date from ancient times.
Sati, composed by Jessica Wells, is a mysterious-sounding work reflecting its meaning in Sanskrit, mindfulness. It starts serenely before a somewhat turbulent middle part, then returns to a peaceful ending, drawing a musical analogy of focussing the mind, becoming distracted and unsettled, before finally finding inner peace.
The final work, Poems I-III, was originally composed by Sally Greenaway for cello and piano. This version for flute and harp is truly magical, a beautiful and most appropriate way to end my evening listening to music. Inspired by Pierre Louys’ poem, Evening Roses, its warm expressiveness and tender melodies were a joy to behold.
I would highly recommend this CD for relaxing listening in the evening before bed, notwithstanding appreciation of the great technical ability of both musicians.

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