Luminance is the brightness of something, rather than the light energy it gives off (its luminosity). The music on this recital by British flutists Lisa Friend and Anna Stokes is likewise concerned with surfaces. It's about as light as it can get, but it is flawlessly executed, and it's an absolute gem. Most of the music could have been included on a degree recital at the Paris Conservatoire between the world wars, with a few diversions back to 19th century Austria and forward to Piazzolla and to a later work by Jacques Ibert that is not far from the rest of the music. It sounds like the last thing some might want to hear, but it's blissfully charming. Friend and Stokes pick some unusual pieces (the only familiar works are Piazzolla's Oblivion, which certainly isn't familiar in a version for two flutes and piano, and maybe Fauré's Cantique de Jean Racine), and they arrange them in a graceful sequence. Along the way they pick up some unjustly forgotten works, and the album is as appealing for serious fans of French 20th century music as it is for the general audiences at which it has been aimed by Britain's Classic FM network. The opening Médailles antiques of Philippe Gaubert is one: a pure neo-classic work with an arresting beginning that puts one in mind of a Greek urn. Another is the perfectly balanced Concertino for flute and piano of Cécile Chaminade, a composer these days heard mostly in courses on women's music, but at one time popular enough to have inspired about 200 musical-activity clubs in the U.S. The entire album is a delightful exercise in melody harnessed to technique, and it will be a hardhearted listener indeed who can resist it.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Medailles Antiques, for flute, violin and piano|
|Andante & Rondo, for two flutes and piano, Op. 25|
|Deux Interludes, for flute, violin and piano|