Lisa Friend / City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

Cinema Affair

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Flutist Lisa Friend has released several lightly thematic albums of short compositions, artfully put together to drive straight up the middle of the road and appeal to the listenership of Britain's Classic FM radio. That outlet has in turn given her a good deal of airplay. The title Cinema Affair is general in its sense; the program consists of film themes arranged for flute and orchestra. Nearly all are in similar slow-to-moderate tempi, and the orchestration is kept consistent, with the result that the distinctiveness of, say Ennio Morricone's main theme for Once Upon a Time in America is considerably smoothed down. Sample this to gauge your potential reactions to the whole. The composers are not named anywhere in the graphics; the focus is on Friend's flute, which has an attractive rounded tone and the consistency that is the key to carrying off the project. The accompaniment by the City of Prague Symphony Orchestra was apparently recorded pop style, i.e. separately from Friend's contributions; this results not in detachment, but in more of the control that is the hallmark of the product. The bottom line: those in search of stress-eliminator music will certainly find it here.

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