Flute Collection / Various


aec.arm1817.2 8/26/03 New
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    Flute Collection / Various Arc Music

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Review Text A masterful collection of flute work from around the world, ARC's Flute Collection takes a stab at covering all the major (and some of the minor) flute forms on earth. As such, there are certainly omissions to be had, but they're surprisingly well hidden. The first of two discs starts out in Oceania, covering the ancient nose flutes and pan pipes of the South Pacific. It quickly moves into Asia with a shakuhachi work, then circles south through Indonesia, Laos, and Myanmar before hitting the well-known dizi of China. Moving north, Mongolia and Korea each get a representative piece on their respective flutes, and the album heads back south to the Rajasthani satara and the bansuri of classical India, and selections from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. After this tour de force, the music takes a quick trip to Africa to finish out the first disc with the Qwii bushmen, the Malian wiili, the Ugandan ndere, and a Ghanaian flute. The second disc picks up where the first ended in North Africa with a nice Egyptian work on the nay, a Jewish piece on the Yemeni halil, and a Syrian nay with only minor relation to the Egyptian. On the way to the Bosporus, an extraordinary piece for both kaval and nay is presented from Turkey, followed by an Albanian pastoral work and a Sicilian double flute based on old Greek forms. A pair of Bulgarian works signals the beginning of an Eastern European section, followed by pieces from Slovakia, the Ukraine, the Urals, Hungary, Lithuania, and Romania. The European tour ends with a nice reel on the tin whistle. Crossing the Atlantic to complete the circle of the earth, the album picks up a now-in-vogue Native American flute piece that's certainly worth hearing, then moves to Venezuela to catch both the modern Spanish concert flute at its highest peak, as well as a particularly ancient form of flute made from the skull of a deer. After a short stop in Ecuador, the album picks up the trademark quenas of Peru and the tarkas of Bolivia to finish out the album in full. It seems somewhat unfortunate that there's no coverage of Australia and only slight coverage of Africa, but at the same time, one must note that there is essentially no flute usage in the aboriginal groups in Australia, and only the most minimal use in most of Sub-Saharan Africa. What's presented is a surprisingly reflective portrayal it would then seem. The music is performed well throughout, but the extraordinary variety might prove a bit much for some listeners. As sure as you are to find something you like, there's a good chance that you'll find something you dislike. Luckily, there should be more likable items in stock here. Give it a listen. ~ Adam Greenberg

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