The goal of this recording project for Naxos is to publish an audio catalogue for professional flutists, scholars and students to reference the complete oeuvre for flute by Jacques Castérède. The variety of chamber ensembles creates an opportunity to introduce these unknown works to the global musical community in addition to increasing the visibility of this underrepresented composer.

For the past couple of years I have been performing some of these works publicly with the professional ensembles I am affiliated with. This project that engages musicians on a national level involves 17 musicians from Colorado, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, New York and Wyoming. These musicians are affiliated with peer institutions and some of the nation’s top-tier orchestras and chamber music organizations.

The musicians engaged are:

Marcin Arendt – Assistant Professor of Violin, University of Memphis
Romie de Guise Langlois – Lecturer in Clarinet, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Brian Ebert – Clarinet Instructor at Regis University
Brook Ferguson – Principal Flute, Colorado Symphony
Jake Fridkis – Principal Flute, Fort Worth Symphony
Christina, Jennings – Associate Professor of Flute, University of Colorado at Boulder
Bridget Kibbey – Harpist, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Doreen Lee – Collaborative Faculty Staff, University of Colorado at Boulder
Andrew Gonzalez – Viola Performer, Heifetz 2017 Artist in Residence
Eric Berlin – Assistant Professor of Trumpet, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Sarah Mellander-Bierhaus – Adjunct Oboe Faculty, University of Denver
Kimberley Patterson – Assistant Professor of Cello, University of Memphis
Megan Ruben – Former Assistant Principal Horn, Fort Collins Symphony
Ben Tibbetts – Staff pianist, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Nadine Shank – Professor of Piano, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Kaori Uno-Jack – Bassoon Lecturer, University of Wyoming

Patrick Sutton – Guitar Faculty, Naropa University

The creative contribution and groundbreaking significance of the project lies in its being not only the first recording showcasing the complete flute chamber works by Jacques Castérède, but also the first project dedicated solely to his music. This project takes up 2 CDs totaling roughly 130 minutes worth of music. Naxos is the world’s largest distributor of classical music recordings with a catalogue of some 9000 titles. “Innovative strategies for recording exciting new repertoire with exceptional talent have enabled Naxos Records to develop one of the largest and fastest-growing catalogues of unduplicated repertoire” is a direct quote from their website.

The works to be recorded are:

Quintette à vent (1953) for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon
Sonate en forme de suite (1955) for flute and piano
Musique (1960) for flute, violin, viola, cello and harp
Douze études for solo flute (1961)
Flûtes en vacances (1964) for 3 flutes with optional 4th flute
Ciels (1980) for flute and piano
Sonatine d’avril (1985) for flute and guitar
Trois moments musicaux d’après Corot (1987) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano
Chant de Solitude (1993) for flute, violin, trumpet and 2 pianos
Sonatine de Mai (2001) for flute and harp
La belle époque (2005) for piccolo, flute and piano
Ombres et Clartes (2010) for flute, violin, viola and cello

 

It is impossible to avoid what is commonly referred to as the ‘French Flute School’ in any line of research that

relates to classical flute performance. In 1847, Theobald Boehm introduced a cylindrical bore, silver flute to the general market that became wildly successful. The redesigned mechanism expanded the tonal and technical possibilities of what was previously thought of as being limited by the construction of the instrument.

Paul Taffanel (1844-1908) earned his First Prize diploma, also referred to as the Premier Prix, from the Paris Conservatory in 1860 and became a huge proponent of showcasing the new artistic possibilities available to performers. This was also the year when the Conservatory officially adopted the Boehm system flute as the required instrument for the core curriculum. In celebration of this, Mr. Taffanel starting commissioning one composer per year to compose a contest piece for the Premier Prix final examination; an exam designed to test the artistic skill-level of flutists to a degree previously unknown. Most of the standard French repertoire performed today come from this collection of composers such as Gabriel Fauré, Olivier Messiaen, Cécile Chaminade,  Jacques Ibert and Andre Jolivet.

When I discovered that the contest piece for 1980 was titled Ciels by Jacques Castérède, it immediately sparked my interested as I was not aware that he composed anything besides the three pieces that I had been enamored with for some time. The effortless neoclassicism of Mr. Castérède’s compositional style, the obvious foundation of traditional form in his music and his luscious melodic lines are always overshadowed by a humorous musical idea or technical demands far beyond what I have encountered before; this is what excites me about his writing. Upon further investigation I discovered an oeuvre of 12 works for flute in a variety of chamber music settings listed above.

The strong desire to leave a cultural heritage for future generations has placed the Paris Conservatory’s flute training program as the most influential in the world, particularly during the 20th century.  The work that this research revolves around, Ciels, is dedicated to Jeanne-Pierre Rampal and Alain Marion. Mr. Marion taught at the Paris Conservatory from 1977 to 1998 and was also Mr. Rampal’s student at the Conservatory where he taught from 1969 to 1981. This dedication of Ciels thus covers a period of flute teaching at the Conservatory from 1969 to 1998, a period which, I am sure, Mr. Castérède observed with great intention as he himself also taught solfège at the Paris Conservatory starting in 1960 until he passed away in 2014. This recording project captures the evolution of flute performance practice through a compositional lens over a 50-year span at the most influential international institution for the French Flute School.

I will record the project over the span of five days in two different locations. Half the works will be recorded in Denver, Colorado at the Robert and Judi Newman Center’s Hamilton Hall on the University of Denver campus. This 224-seat hall is regarded as one of the best acoustical spaces in the western part of the United States. Moveable acoustical banners are also installed making this the ideal space for recording as the natural reverberations of sound in the hall can be controlled for the optimal capturing of sound.

The two confirmed dates for the recording sessions in Colorado are 10 and 17 December 2017. The remaining works will be recorded at Firehouse 12 studios in New Haven, Connecticut from 14-18 May 2018.