The delightful name of Simion Stanciu Syrinx, Romanian panpipe virtuoso, is enough to attract the browser to this disc, but neither the jacket nor even the booklet conveys a good idea of what the purchaser would get. There are just a few adagios, and not really any serenades. Ballyhooed inside is "The Event. The Meeting" between Syrinx and flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal for "surely the one and only time," but Rampal actually appears on only two of the disc's 19 tracks (concerto movements by Cimarosa and Vivaldi, tracks 2 and 19). What one gets instead is a series of mostly upbeat and mostly Baroque- or Classical-era pieces, arranged for panpipes and orchestra (or harp or guitar) by Syrinx himself. Fans of Gheorghe Zamfir will find something new in this release, for it shows how the panpipes, with distinct songful and athletic modes, can stand up to conventional classical repertory. The booklet makes the grandiose (if endearing) claim that "there is no doubt that had Mozart met our artist, and been given a taste of the instrument's warm resonance, he would have composed music for pan flute." Sample Syrinx's facile and elegant ornamentation in the slow movement of the Flute Concerto in C major by Leclair, track 17, and see if you aren't tempted to agree. As for Mozart himself, Syrinx joins harpist Marielle Nordmann for an enchanting trio of short pieces, beginning with Papageno's famous panpipe tune from The Magic Flute and proceeding to an (actually misattributed) encore piece called Tartine de beurre (Buttered Bread) before concluding with a rousing (for panpipes) Rondo alla turca. Given the variety of orchestras and accompanists involved, it seems as though this disc might have been assembled from previously recorded performances, but the notes give no clue as to when or where the music originated. Still and all, there's something elementally charming about well-played panpipes, an instrument that, as Syrinx points out, was "known to the Greeks 2,000 years before Christ."
Adagios Sérénades pour flute de pan Review
by James Manheim