Mirror of Eternity - Khatchaturian, Khoury and Stankovych Works for Flute

Much of the music on this CD has been shaped, inspired or influenced by the spirit of angst that has prevailed in many parts of the world, born out of the consequences of oppression, injustice and war. Whilst this music comes from Armenia, Ukraine and the Lebanon, it speaks beyond its geographic boundaries. Militarism and violence may change their faces/names/ideologies, but the results are sadly universally tragic. 'Courage' is not the sole property of soldiers in battle, nor are 'morality' and 'love' the unassailable turf of religion - as for 'honesty' in politics ... we only need to look at cold reality to see corruption and hypocrisy in full glory. There are two important ways to respond to these realities of life: 1) to expose and deal with the darkness that lives within, or 2) to reveal the light that lives within us ... to nurture the spirit of wonder in the perpetual creation and evolution that life is. Both these realities are represented very powerfully in the music featured here, much of it inspired by rich folkloric traditions. This music carries with it a dream: that mankind can one day reach beyond make-believe boundaries imposed by ourselves, or those who will divide humanity into 'enemy and ally' or 'us and them' ... refuse to live and act out these destructive principles ... be free to see and exploit the endless possibility that life is when unrestricted and unconditional love are the heart of who we are.

Wissam Boustany



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This disc features Boustany in two flute concertos, Jean-Pierre Rampal’s 1968 flute transcription of Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto, a transcription that had the composer’s blessing, and Khoury’s flute concerto, Mirror of Eternity, from which the album takes its name. Boustany puts a sparkle into the piece and brings out its indigenour Armenian flavours. According to Boustany, Khouri’s concerto is “born out of the consequences of oppression, injustice, and war” that speaks beyond the geographic borders of Armenia, Ukraine, and Lebanon. The first movement weaves a spell of sorrow and dread, as if it envisions from afar a landscape shattered, broken, and bereft of life. One hears as a distant echo the beat of a war drum and the rumble of a tank, but only as a shiver from the ground below which still reverberates with the death and destruction that left it barren but not mute. The earth remembers, and its grief is inconsolable. This is powerful stuff, hypnotizing in its bleakness and riveting in its tragic warning. It’s an incredible virtuosic workout for Boustany, who is absolutely fantastic. Khoury’s Mirror of Eternity has made a deeply emotional impression on me, and Boustany, accompanied by an ensemble of strings and percussion, plays it magnificently. Fanfare Magazine-March-April 2017

“... Flutist Wissam Boustany is not only a wonderful performer but, clearly, a passionate promoter of composers from his homeland...I had not heard his Flute Concerto [Khatchaturian] before but found it to be a real pleasure... Boustany’s performance really is excellent and he has a marvelous tone and ample technique.. Khoury’s Mirror of Eternity is a concerto for flute and orchestra and makes a strong, atmospheric impression!... a very interesting and compelling work, written for the present performer, Wissam Boustany.... This [Stankovych] is a very interesting work that has moments of great beauty...there is a strong emotional feel to all these works and which echoes Boustany’s own “Toward Humanity” project which uses music and musical performances to support humanitarian projects...even without knowing the mood or intent behind these compositions, this is extremely interesting and compelling music played beautifully..." Daniel Coombs, audaud.com

"...I am quite staggered by this soloist...The playing is remarkable; there are no gasps for breath or oral noises and the sound is excellent...the control of soloist and orchestra is impeachable throughout. The cadenzas are spellbinding; the intonation faultless. And what an invigorating finale!...Buy this CD if only to marvel at the playing of this flautist..." David Wright

"...The whole experience [Katchaturian] is truly beautiful and I’m not sure that I don’t prefer this transcription over the original...somehow the Armenian melodies seem so perfectly suited to the flute’s gentle and mellifluous tones. Its ability to dance and to soar is ideally suited to the music...

...The second work on this interesting disc is a real discovery: the flute concerto Mirror of Eternity by Lebanese composer Houtaf Khoury... Irrespective of the ‘programme’, which is in no way vital in appreciating the concerto, the music is quite hauntingly beautiful. It naturally incorporates what must surely be folk melodies from Lebanon and weaves a musical spell...the work is wonderful and gives full rein to the flute’s often miraculous capabilities....

...Yevhen Stankovych, a name unknown to me so yet another discovery...brilliantly inventive – a work which weaves its magic thanks to some wonderful orchestral writing and a brilliant soloist who uses his instrument to its highest abilities...The music is stark but beautiful. Stankovych is another composer I shall be seeking out. These works are ‘contemporary’ in the best sense of the word; innovative but not ‘off the wall’. Boustany is an incredibly talented flautist and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, under Volodymyr Sirenko does a fine job - further evidence that lesser-known orchestras deserve being showcased and an issue like this one is a perfect opportunity to do so...."Steve Arloff, Musicweb-international.com

...The performance is splendid, and the recording gets the balance between the flute and Khachaturian’s sometimes noisy orchestration just right...

...Boustany’s playing is faultless especially in the quixotic music…

...It [Mirror of Eternity] opens reflectively with a meditative Lento of great stillness and intense beauty. Boustany’s playing here is perfection. The music then becomes more troubled, but even here the flute floats a layer of benediction over the restless string harmonies and quietly menacing timpani....some stunning playing from Boustany... a return to the reflective mood of the opening and a beautifully protracted farewell. The string playing here is dark and luscious. It is delightful to find a modern composer who is willing to write music that is both approachable and attractive at first hearing....The composer is credited as producer of this CD, and presumably this performance and recording accurately reflect his intentions; he should certainly be more than satisfied with it...

...this Chamber Symphony for flute and strings is a gem...

...Boustany is excellent, combining flutter-tongued phrases with natural legato as if it were the most natural thing in the world...

...The “sudden moments of visionary peace” are indeed visionary, with some spellbindingly beautiful playing from the soloist....

...In an introductory note to the recording Boustany says: “This music carries with it a dream: that mankind can one day reach beyond make-believe boundaries imposed by ourselves … be free to see and exploit the endless possibility that life is when unrestricted and unconditional love are the heart of who we are.” High principles indeed, but with music as deeply felt as this and such generally superb recording and performance this disc goes some way to justifying them. Khoury’s Mirror of Eternity comes very near indeed.”  Paul Corfield, Godfrey musicweb-international.com

"Although this is a reissue from 2004 (now at Nimbus), this CD never reached our editors. Twentieth-century flute concerts are not often played after their premiere, making them more interesting to look quietly on CD to listen to. The (violin) concert Khatchaturian dates from 1940 and was written for David Oistrakh. When Rampal heard it he asked Khatchaturian for a flute concerto but he suggested that the violin part be arranged for flute, which is what Rampal did. Boustany maintains a warm and convincing argument for this flute concerto [Khatchaturian] - although it remains a pity that no low gsnaar a flute is (knowing that the piece thus beginnt)! The concert Khoury is indeed the world premiere. It is dedicated to Wissam, who as born Lebanese can sympathize with the tragedy of unfree lives in the Arab world. The work of the Russian Stankovych is characterized by episodes of great spiritual intensity interspersed with passages in the orchestra. Apart from Boustany's  aspirations for peace, this music is simply beautiful." FLUIT (translation)

"Twentieth-century flute concerts are not often played after their premiere, making them more interesting to look quietly on CD to listen to… Boustany maintains a warm and convincing argument for this flute concerto [Khatchaturian]… Apart from Boustany's  aspirations for peace, this music is simply beautiful…” - Soundbites

"... Boustany uses a beautiful sound, expressive playing, and masterfully applied vibrato to draw the listener into what is, quite frankly, an excellent piece of music...Boustany’s playing is colorful and enticing, spinning out phrases convincingly. In the lyrical as well as rhythmic moments, Boustany makes musical choices that mesh well with the writing for strings... the disc shines..." Rebecca Johnson (The Flutist Quarterly, Fall Edition)

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