Vinny Golia

Music for Like Instruments: The Flutes

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In 2002, Vinny Golia embarked on a series of special projects grouping similar instruments. He recorded Music for Like Instruments: The Eb Saxophones that year and, in May 2004, added a second volume featuring a flute quartet. Both deserve recommendation, if only for Golia's ever so graceful writing, but the latter's unusual instrumentation makes it slightly more interesting. The lineup consists of Fawnice McCain on C flute; Ellen Burr and Jennifer Roth on piccolo, alto, and C flutes; and Golia playing seven flute sizes, from the Db piccolo down to the mammoth contrabass version. All writing and arrangement credits for the 15 pieces go to Golia. His compositions are occasionally expressionistic, as in the delightfully dissonant "On the Train," but most of the time they follow more abstract, quizzical shapes, allying a grace that is strongly emphasized by the instrumentation and a playfulness that had come to define Golia's work over the preceding few years. Of particular interest are "Dr. Lubbeck Pays a Visit, So Sam Phones Some Friends," the somber "Aquarina," "Poece," in which everyone pulls off an inspiring solo, and "Da A," the most "contemporary music"-sounding piece of the album. The performances are very strong and each instrumentalist's voice is clearly separated on the recording. Golia gets more spotlight than the others, but the quartet remains strongly focused on achieving a group sound and does so on several tracks. This album doesn't reinvent the flute quartet, but it adds a significant amount of interesting short works to its repertoire.

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