It's celebration time!
We've just had our first full review for our Album 'ANIMO two' produced by RAVELLO RECORDS in 2022. The album was recorded in January/February 2021 then mixed/edicted at Sansom studios with the final production in 2022 by PARMA recordings on the Ravello Records label. It was also a great joy to see our short film 'HOPE' being premiered on YouTube (18000 views since its premiere), based on a seminal track from our 'ANIMO two' album.
Kudos to all our amazing composers: Edmund Jolliffe, Helen Walker, Tara Guram, Lukas Piel and Joseph Howard who wrote some fantastic works for us which I think will be performed by many flute and piano duos in years to come.
Here is the full review and a link to the full article:
“This is a joyous and captivating album.”
‘Animo Two’ is a 2022 Romero Records release featuring flautist Sarah Waycott, pianist Yanna Zissiadou and contemporary duo works by eight composers.
The album commences with Anne Boyd’s Cloudy Mountain (1981), a work inspired by a Fung Chin-Wan painting of the same name. Cloudy Mountain embodies many compositional characteristics that define Boyd’s work. The temporal discourse is meditative and unhurried. The tonal language is consonant without falling into niches of functional harmony. The aesthetic pays homage to Eastern influences, inflecting nuances of gamelan and traditional flutes. Waycott’s performance is captivatingly melodic, with sensitive and richly resonant partnership in Zissiadou’s pianism. To my taste, the performance could have delved deeper into searching for ghostly rather than corporeal timbres. A wonderful performance nonetheless.
Commissioned by Animo Duo, Lukas Piel’s The Journey of Alan Kurdi (2019/20) is scored for flute, piano and electronic soundscape. The title refers to the passing of a Syrian youth that garnered worldwide visibility in regards to the European refugee crisis. Piel’s body of work mostly inhabits the realms of musical scoring for games and movies. This work is unsurprisingly imbued with a cinematic scope, and expertly crafts a beautiful dialogue between the live instruments and electronics.
Edmund Jolliffe’s work The Red Birds (2020) is also an Animo Duo commission. The three movements of the work are based on endangered red-listed birds – Sky Dancer, the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and the Cuckoo. A minimalist language is established from bar one. Patterns rhythmically pulsate and groove, dancing through an oscillating metrical discourse. Waycott and Zissiadou’s performance is bright and uplifting, capturing the inherent joy and lilt of the music. In the album notes, Animo Duo describe the use of “audio effects during the mixing of this album which has opened up new pathways for further experimentation…”. These effects can be heard at play in this work, with subtle and effective manipulation of the tail-end of flute phrases, and of the pulsing piano chords at the start of the final movement.
Composed in 2019, Helen Walker’s Suite for Alto Flute and Piano is a lyrical work that gently invites the listener into its inner world. Waycott’s alto flute sound sparkles here. This is followed by another (extremely cute) Walker work Two Pieces for Piccolo and Piano. Both works were commissioned by Animo Duo.
Joseph Howard’s Ex Arcadia (2019) is scored for alto flute, piano and electronics. The electronics embody a counterpoint to the live flute and piano, at times turning the flute from a single-line instrument into an entire chorus. This is a powerful and effective work, treated to an impactful performance by Animo Duo that shifts between states of lyricism and gravitas.
Tara Gurham’s Requiem (2019/20) is also an Animo Duo commission. Breathy sounds emerge from the flute over a gently pulsing bed of sound from the piano. This work is perhaps the most modernist in flavour of those featured on the album, though it is still imbued with a sense of line and poetry. I enjoyed the slow pace of building tension through this work. The overall architecture leaves a wonderful impression on the listener.
A sentimental waltz pervades Geoff Eales’ The Last Kiss (2013), an expressive performance from the Animo Duo. Two miniatures by William Lloyd Webber bring the album to a close, both sharing the sentimentality of the preceding work.
This is a joyous and captivating album. The featured works are uplifting, inviting and well-crafted. The performances by Animo Duo are excellent, and the many commissioned works on the album embody a significant contribution to the expansion of the repertory of flute/piano duo works.