Press & Reviews

 

CD REVIEW - The White Peacock (2002)
American Record Guide
Jessica Johnson, reviewer - March/April 2003

This is the third--and most unusual--recital that the Harris-Coates flute and guitar duo has released on Barking Dog Records, an independent label owned and operated by Mike Coates. The duo's first two recordings consist of standard flute and guitar repertoire and classical transcriptions. They tackle more difficult and lengthy repertoire on this release.

The three-movement piece by Salvador Brotons is the most impressive. They perform this difficult work with a much wider range of expression than other pieces on the recording. The best transcription here is "The White Peacock" by Charles Griffes. He wrote the piece
for piano in 1915, and arranged it for the ballet in 1919. Coates's transcription includes bassoon and sounds idiomatic. The recording quality is excellent, except in this piece, where the bassoon sounds too far away.

I commend the duo for working to expand the flute-and-guitar repertoire. Both players have an appealing strength in their sounds. They give a solid performance and sound best playing pieces that challenge themselves and their audiences.

 

CD REVIEW - The White Peacock (2002)
Music Web (UK) -
Rob Barnett, Classical Editor
Hubert Culot, reviewer - January 2003

Griffes' The White Peacock started its life as one of the Roman Sketches Op.7 for piano and was orchestrated later by the composer. The present arrangement for flute, guitar and bassoon is by Mike Coates and works remarkably well. It perfectly conveys the work's subtle Impressionism.

Andrea Stern's Mosaic, originally written for flute and harp, has also been arranged by Mike Coates. It is one of the many rarities in this release each of which could easily become popular. The music, as that of most other pieces here, is straightforward, impressionistic and overtly tuneful. Daniel Dorff's Serenade to Eve, After Rodin has its origin in an improvisational performance in Philadelphia's Rodin Museum in which the composer took part as a clarinetist. Rodin's sculptures of Adam and Eve banished from Paradise display "grief, terror and shame." Dorff's short piece was thus written, as it were, to cheer Eve up. It is a really charming miniature, as is the lovely diptych by Rodrigo composed in 1982 for violin or flute and guitar. Spain is also represented by Salvador Brotons and his delightful and superbly crafted Tre Divertimenti Op.68 are unpretentious miniatures; another welcome addition to this particular repertoire.

We are not told who arranged Debussy's Le Petit Berger from the popular Children's Corner, but it works well as does Coates' transcription of Debussy's jazzy little piano piece Le Petit Nègre which might have been another movement of Children's Corner.

This attractive collection ends with yet another welcome rarity Quatre Facettes by Jean-Michel Damase whose superbly crafted, tuneful music is always a joy to hear. Sadly enough, it is still too rarely heard.

All in all, a splendid and enjoyable collection of miniatures (no great masterpieces here) that are all well worth hearing, especially in such immaculate performances. Excellent recording in natural acoustics remarkably free from the many extraneous noises (breathing, clicks, etc.) that often mar similar recitals. Recommended for pleasure's sake, but a bit short in terms of playing time.

 

CD REVIEW - The White Peacock (2002)
Music & Vision Daily -
THE RECORD BOX
Basil Ramsey, reviewer - November 2002

Flute and guitar as a duo shows its accommodating character and friendship on this CD collection. The Harris-Coates Duo is an integrated unit musically sensitive and performing with the unanimity basic to any good partnership.

The music selected is modern -- given the certainty that Debussy is not yet ancient. The better known composers, apart from Debussy, are Charles T Griffes and Joaquin Rodrigo. Griffes' The White Peacock calls for bassoon to provide a trio, which then displays itself as a well polished, colourful movement assuming nothing more than agreeable conversation. Rodrigo's Serenata comes with much the same qualities.

Daniel Dorff is the most recent to be presented. His Serenade to Eve gently pulses in a relaxed style intended to make the lady smile. On the other hand, Damase's Quatre Facettes on the final track are generally of a strongish character. This collection is contrasted but in no way less than good.

 

FROM THE COMPOSER - Salvador Brotons
Tre Divertimenti - The White Peacock (2002)

"You are an absolutely amazing duo! I have never heard my piece performed better--I am thrilled beyond words at your performance. Yours was the best of all of the premieres of my works [2001 National Flute Association Convention, Dallas]."

 

CD REVIEW - The White Peacock (2002)
Flute Talk -
THE INSTRUMENTALIST
February 2003

Flutist Debora Harris and guitarist Mike Coates perform Mosaic by Andrea Stern, Tre Divertimenti by Salvador Brotons, The White Peacock by Griffes, Serenade to Eve After Rodin by Daniel Dorff, Serenata al Alba del Dia by Joauin Rodrigo, Le Petit Berger and Le Petit Negre by Debussy, and Quatre Facettes by Jean-Michel Damase on this 50-minute CD. This is the [third] recording by the duo, and the repertoire represented is interesting and well-performed. Harris plays beautifully, has a facile technique, and a smoothly-singing legato. Her intonation is impeccable. The ensemble between these two performers is good at all times.

 

CD REVIEW - The White Peacock (2002)
Sequenza 21 -
THE CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL MUSIC WEEKLY
Editor's Picks - November 18, 2002

Delightful collection of contemporary works for flute and guitar including a new transcription of American composer Charles T. Griffes' "The White Peacock." This piece, originally written for piano in 1915 and later scored by Griffes for full orchestra, was transcribed and arranged by Mike Coates for flute, guitar and bassoon -- this recording features guest artist Russell Peterson on bassoon. Also, the collection contains lovely pieces by Debussy, Dorff, Damase and Rodrigo.

 

CD REVIEW - The White Peacock (2002)
Audiophile Audition -
THE AUDIOPHILE'S MONTHLY MAGAZINE
John Sunier, reviewer - January 2003

From the somewhat unlikely source of Fargo, North Dakota comes this tasty collection of works by seven different composers either written originally for flute and guitar or transcribed especially for this album. (The duo dubs their area a wonderful environment for the arts in general.) The familiar Griffes impressionistic gem was arranged to include the performer's bassoonist friend. Two Debussy Preludes were transcribed by the Duo for the album. Another French composer, Damase, is represented by his only work for guitar and flute, which shows his main interest in composing for harp and flute. The lovely Serenade by Rodrigo is a rare work by the blind Spanish composer. Two other modern composers are included: Salvador Brotons and Daniel Dorff.

 

CD REVIEW - Dances in the Madhouse (2000)
FanFaire
- March 2001

"These superbly recorded CDs coming out of Fargo, North Dakota are a delightful discovery! Debora Harris and Michael Coates have been performing as a duo for the past decade and their perfect chemistry shows in their playing. They have assembled charming, diverse pieces, many transcribed from compositions written for other instruments, that take the listener through a most enjoyable journey of the flute and guitar repertoire, from late 19th century to the present. It is obvious these CDs were produced by the duo with a lot of care-for the music, the sound, and the broad audience they are trying to reach. Even the program notes are educational pieces in miniature-scholarly but engaging like their music, and never boring! "

FROM THE COMPOSER - David Leisner
Dances in the Madhouse - Dances in the Madhouse (2000)

"Wow, what a gorgeous recording! What an incredibly beautiful sound you both make, and how superbly recorded, Mike. Deb, your tone and intonation are among the best I've ever heard. The overall interpretation of the piece is wonderfully vibrant and dynamic-the second and fourth movements are virtually perfect. The ensemble coordination everywhere is as if played by one person. It is simply magnificent, and I thank you with all my heart for all that you put into this recording."

 

CD REVIEW - Dances in the Madhouse (2000)
New Millenium Guitar

John Bent, reviewer - February 2001

[Excerpt - for the complete review, click here] "...Now the next piece is from a composer not often heard in recitals involving guitar: Hector Berlioz! This exquisite "Trio" is an interlude played between "scenes" of the oratorio "The Childhood of Christ". Originally scored for two flutes and harp. Here the scoring is for guitar and two flutes (with each part played by Ms. Harris on separately recorded tracks). This music is simply ravishing, exquisitely arranged by Mr Coates, and played with all the tenderness and exuberance the music requires. For me this is the highlight of the entire CD!"

 

CD REVIEW - Dances in the Madhouse (2000)
The Fargo Forum

Tom Pantera, reviewer - February 2001

"Duo's New Album Sparkles --As they always seem to do, Debora Harris and Mike Coates have blended their talents into a seamless program of music, from various composers of the past century...The recording is bookended by two particularly interesting pieces, "Dances in the Madhouse" by David Leisner and "Histoire du Tango" by Astor Piazzolla...These are works of subtly shifting moods and textures that richly rewards the attention paid to it. These two impressive works frame a CD that celebrates Harris' beautiful intricate flute work and Coates' deft guitar."

 

Buy Harris-Coates Duo CDs online at Fargostuff.com

 

 

 

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