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George Flynn & Katherine Hughes: Together

Jim Santella By

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On this aptly titled disc, the chamber music duo of George Flynn and Katherine Hughes provides its audience with an hour of melodramatic adventure. Moods change, the pace runs through varying climates, and both instrumentalists interpret with clarity. The three suites were recorded in Chicago: in 1992, 1995 and 2005. Flynn and Hughes' lasting musical relationship has given both artists the freedom to express themselves on a personal level without regard to outside influences, pouring music directly from the heart.

The program contains many wide open spaces in the music where Flynn's compositions require regrouping for effect. Most of the changes in volume and mood come gradually. The violin soars over the music with a lyrical fragrance while the piano undermines the landscape with powerful percussive taunts. Time stops often for emphasis, and both artists work cohesively to reach their musical goals. Flynn likes to pound the keyboard with dramatic, thundering cascades, while Hughes appears more relaxed in her floating melodies.

Together picks up real fast with strong piano intensity. The yin and yang of the duo's performance melds a lovely violin melody with a powerful piano pout. Once again, there's plenty of space in the composition where tones seem to resound quietly in a whisper. In cycles, however, the mood turns furious at times in a battle between harsh, percussive intensity and cotton ball melodies. Much of the piece rests in whispered quiet, while the duo's frequent peaks fill the program with a lingering affair of the heart. Their musical partnership has resulted in a confluence of moods and an interesting tone poem that ebbs and flows naturally.


Personnel: George Flynn: piano; Katherine Hughes: violin.

Title: Together | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Southport Records


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