Reviews of Performances and CD's

BRIEF QUOTES from REVIEWS:

 

The Flutist Quarterly

"a wonderful selection of classic favorites and exciting new works, each of which tells a fascinating story. As always, Vinci plays with a generous, gorgeous sound, exceptional rhythmic vitality, and tons of character. 

[Higdon's Flute Poetic] captures all the passion, all the lovely, varied colors they create, and the atmospheric qualities of landscapes and watercolors that this work expresses.

... [Hoover's Medieval Suite] polished, enthusiastic, and appropriately vigorous. ... [Hindemith’s Acht Stücke] energetic and rapturous. ...[Griffes Poem] charming and elegant...

Of special note are the two new works by Mark Vinci, an outstanding saxophonist, doubler, improviser, and composer. “Crow’s Nest,” for solo flute, is a jazz-inspired picture of the ocean’s dichotomy, combining beat boxing, singing and swinging, and the joyous “TINGsha Bom t-Bom t-Bom” for flute and orchestra is a terrific new addition to our concerto repertoire— emotional, rhythmic, and colorful.

Highly recommended!" —George Pope

[American FluteScape: A Tapestry of Premieres and Classics]

FANFARE

"this superbly performed disc". ... "There [in Higdon's Flute Poetic] are multiple challenges to ensemble all tackled brilliantly." "A winner of a disc."

[American FluteScape: A Tapestry of Premieres and Classics]

The Classical Recording Foundation

"THE FOUNDATION AWARD: The Foundation Award to Jan Vinci went to underwrite a new recording entitled American FluteScape: A Tapestry of Premieres and Classics. Vinci is a true champion of flute music and applies herself with a courageous and adventuresome attitude for new music. This recording was an opportunity to showcase her voice and to preserve this amazing collection of new flute music."

[American FluteScape: A Tapestry of Premieres and Classics]


American Record Guide 

"This is a fabulous recording. ... [Jan Vinci] plays with control, color, and effortless technical facility. Her tone is beautiful, rich, and never out of tune. ... It is easily one of my favorite flute discs of the year." 

[Global FluteScape]  (full review in right column)


Flute Talk
"plays it [Benker] with great aplomb" ...  " 'creates a special connection between its [the pieces on the CD] musical sound and one's heart.' Her performance demonstrates this very well." 

"If you enjoy new sounds and hearing the full range of what a flute can do, the recording is for you." [Global FluteScape]

 

Prodigy   ... Martin Bookspan
"a fascinating CD"
"The performers are expert and the scores are important." 

[FIVE PREMIERES]  

 

High Performance Review
"three exquisite performers"   ...      "highly recommended"

[FIVE PREMIERES]

The Flute View

Each piece, as she writes in her very well written notes each piece tells a story, and Vinci tells the stories with beautiful, colorful sound, perfect pitch and deep interpretation.  You are aware of how much thought she’s given to each piece on the album and her deep love of presenting this music...

Jan is accompanied by the stellar pianist Rieko Uchida, herself a noted chamber musician and soloist.  Their ensemble and interpretations blend perfectly in seamless playing...

[American FluteScape: A Tapestry of Premieres and Classics]

Albany Times Union 

"Holland's Three Poems Without Words" .... was vibrantly, thrillingly alive in state-of-the-art performances." ... "This was classical music making that would have been happily at home in Merkin Hall or Lincoln Center in New York City." ... "The trio [TRITONIS] played wonderfully, with expressive power and musical involvement in the intense mood of the "song" [Vivian Fine's Canzones y Danzas]."

[FIVE PREMIERES]

 

The Flute Pro Shop Blog, Joan Sparks

First let me say that Jan Vinci is an artist of the highest degree.  She displayed brilliant tonal colors, enviable technical mastery and elegant musical phrasing.  Every piece on the program was performed with integrity and understanding of the composer's intent.  And what a program it was!  Jan played her husband Mark's solo flute work, "Crow's Nest" which was a fusion of jazz, extended techniques and the influence of beat boxing.  Katherine Hoover's "Medieval Suite" is a brilliant display of technical and musical drama.  The Jennifer Higdon Sonata [Flute Poetic] is three movements long, and picks up where the Liebermann Sonata leaves off, with demands made on all aspects of technique and musicality. ...

It was an event not to be missed-although well attended, the performance deserved an SRO crowd. [Concert for the Flute Society of Greater Philadelphia]

 

The Saratogian

"Jan is a constant when it comes to excellence." [Global FluteScape]

 

Glens Falls The Post Star
"Her low range was wonderfully rich with overtones. When she played softly, her tones were dulcet and pure. She played the long scalar passages and accelerated arpeggiated sections with great panache."

[Concert with Iridescence Duo: Karlinda Caldicott, harp] 

 

Bennington Banner
"a first rate flutist... accomplished artist." 

[Concert with guitarist Joel Brown]

 

The Saratogian
" ... the Mozart Quartet was delightful and engaging. These ladies know music, and they know how to have fun..." 

[Concert with Among Friends Trio. Leader, cellist Ruth Alsop]

 

Guitar Review

"Brown, Vinci and Alton bring true artistry to their task."
"Musical conception is articulated with finesse and a sure touch."
"Buy this one!"

[FIVE PREMIERES]

 

SUNY Cobleskill Campus Courier

"the musicianship was astounding."

[Concert with Iridescence Duo]


Albany Times Union
"Harp, Flute duo shimmers... Iridescence gave a splendid performance"  

[Concert with Iridescence Duo]

Hoover: Kokopeli - Jan Vinci
00:00 / 00:00

The Flutist Quarterly

Spring 2018

American FluteScape Jan Vinci
©2016 Albany Records

Jan Vinci’s new CD has a wonderful selection of classic favorites and exciting new works, each of which tells a fascinating story. As always, Vinci plays with a generous, gorgeous sound, exceptional rhythmic vitality, and tons of character. The opening work, “Flute Poetic,” by Jennifer Higdon (co-commissioned by Vinci and Pola Baytelman), is beautifully recorded, achieving perfect balances between Vinci and her exceptional collaborator, pianist Reiko Uchida. It captures all the passion, all the lovely, varied colors they create, and the atmospheric qualities of landscapes and watercolors that this work expresses. Uchida’s sensitive playing and expert handling of the prepared-piano techniques are very effective, and the results are truly brilliant.

All of the performances on this CD are inspired. The Hoover Medieval Suite is polished, enthusiastic, and appropriately vigorous. This work has also been arranged for flute and orchestra by the composer. The marvelous and improvisatory works of Hindemith’s Acht Stücke from 1927 are energetic and rapturous. The Griffes Poem is charming and elegant, as befits its French-inspired character.

 

Of special note are the two new works by Mark Vinci, an outstanding saxophonist, doubler, improviser, and composer. “Crow’s Nest,” for solo flute, is a jazz-inspired picture of the ocean’s dichotomy, combining beat boxing, singing and swinging, and the joyous “TINGsha Bom t-Bom t-Bom” for flute and orchestra is a terrific new addition to our concerto repertoire— emotional, rhythmic, and colorful.

Highly recommended! —George Pope

FANFARE

March/April 2017


"American FluteScape: A Tapestry of Premieres and Classics," Albany Records

Aptly subtitled “A Tapestry of Premieres and Classics,” this superbly performed disc offers up an hour’s- plus worth of American music (Hindemith became a U. S. citizen, remember). Three of the works on this program were commissioned by Jan Vinci: Flute Poetic, Crow’s Nest, and TINGsha Bom-t Bom-t Bom. Mark Vinci, composer of the last two of those, is the flutist’s husband.

A Naxos disc of the music of Jennifer Higdon was warmly welcomed by me in Fanfare 37:3. On the Fanfare Archive, it is complemented by sound samples from the disc of the Sky Quartet and the Higdon’s version of Amazing Grace for string quartet. The work featured here, Flute Poetic of 2009, reworks two movements from Higdon’s String Poetic); the first movement is wholly original. (It was recorded on Cedille, also with Reiko Uchida on piano, and with Jennifer Koh on violin. There are two reviews on the Fanfare Archive, both from issue 32:1.) Entitled just “First,” it is described by the composer as a “frantic schizophrenic dialogue” and an unpredictability that is “like a picture going in and out of focus.” It is gloriously playful, especially when delivered with the light touch of Vinci and Uchida. The second movement’s title, “Blue Hills,” refers to the sad and early death of the composer’s brother. Plucked piano strings and their after-resonance, with traditionally played piano chords indicating two different planes or even worlds at work, begin the movement, over which the flute sings its slowly evolving line. There are moments that follow that approach warmth, but it is a deliberately unconvincing warmth; that false security that occurs within mourning that is not yet complete. Yet the flute melody still soars beautifully. The finale, entitled “Jagged,” fully lives up to its name and is beautifully done here: There are multiple challenges to ensemble all tackled brilliantly.

I like Jan Vinci’s description of her husband, Mark, the composer of two pieces here, as “the love of all my lives.” The piece Crow’s Nest was originally composed for Vinci’s jazz disc As I think of you. It offers a description of differing aspects of the sea as seen from the vantage point of the crow’s nest. The piece is tremendous fun, and finds Jan Vinci wringing every bit of rhythmic bounce she can from the musical surface.

I have been much impressed by the music of Katherine Hoover over the years. The First and Second String Quartets coupled with the String Trio (Fanfare 39:6) and Mirian Conti’s disc of piano music (Fanfare 39:6), both on the Parnassus label, deeply impressed me. Here, we have her Medieval Suite of 1981 for flute and piano. This is actually Hoover’s first major work. It is no mere pageant of stately dances; instead, it sets out to show the traumatic events of the 14th century as inspired by Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror. A century ripped apart by multiple, bloody wars, this music reflects the pain. The first section, “Virelai,” references Machaut but drags him into the music of our time. Dark and sparse, this is music portraying a dark expanse; “The Black Knight” follows, ominous repeated notes low on the piano reflecting the violent side of this particular British prince. Reflecting the warring Popes in Rome and Avignon, “The Drunken Friar” subtly injects both Gregorian chant and the well-known round Sumer is icumen in into the music. The sadness of “On the betrothal of Princess Isabelle of France, aged six years” is palpable, housed here in music of the utmost delicacy. Uchida’s soft delivery of repeated simultaneities is perfectly done. Finally, there comes “Demon’s Dance,” which begins on piano rather like the finale to Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 7. It refers to a dance that was supposed to ward off the Black Plague.

The Hindemith pieces for solo flute from 1927 are relatively popular in the catalog: ArkivMusic lists nine versions, including this one. Hopping on Hindemith’s rather free sense of improvisation on this disc, Vinci has provided a made-up program about pre-adolescent friends and their adventures. The movements are all short (the longest is two minutes, but four of the eight movements last for less than a minute) but they make their point perfectly, and Vinci plays most fetchingly, imparting something of a glow of innocence onto the piece in the process.

Another fairly popular piece for flutists is the Poem by Charles Griffes, written in 1918. Although the standard arrangement of this piece for flute and piano (it was originally flute and orchestra) is by Georges Barrère, Vinci prefers that by Phillip Moll, a reduction which in her words “reflects beautiful orchestral timbres.” There is more than a whiff of the French Impressionists here, a known influence on Griffes’s music. It is a terrific piece of music, over the course of its 10 minutes it traverses a wide terrain. Reiko Uchida is particularly sensitive both to the nuances of harmony and the shadings of her collaborator; an opening out of harmony and texture, giving the music a more outdoor feel, makes a great impact. This is a wonderful piece, beautifully performed.

Finally, we have a work for flute and orchestra by Mark Vinci, the intriguingly named TINGhsa Bom t- Bom t-Bom of 2014. Written for Jan Vinci by her husband, it is cast in three movements, the first of which, “En garde” is a polite but perhaps teasing dialogue between flute and orchestra, while the central “TINGsha” is inspired by Tibetan chimes. There is a jazzy lilt to this, and here the flute is asked to use extended techniques such as singing and playing at the same time, bending notes and flutter-tonguing. The finale builds slowly, beginning with an extended solo jazz cadenza for the soloist and moving with some inevitability towards a joyous and rousing close.

The recording, by Adam Abeshouse, is phenomenal. Placement of instruments is perfectly judged, whether in chamber combination or with orchestra, as is recorded ambience. A winner of a disc. Colin Clarke

American Record Guide 

January/February 2008


"Global FluteScape: Premieres and Rare Gems," Albany Records

"This is a fabulous recording. Jan Vinci is Senior Resident Artist at Skidmore College. She has impressive training and experience. I have never heard her playing before, and now I wish I had. She plays with control, color, and effortless technical facility. Her tone is beautiful, rich, and never out of tune. One can hear the indelible influence of Julius Baker, one of her primary teachers. Pianist Hugh Sung's graceful, colorful playing is a delightful match.

There are nine pieces here. I enjoyed hearing this straight thru---it is a balanced and thoughtful program, including only a couple well-known works---the rest is either new or neglected. I also enjoyed hearing individual pieces repeatedly, especially the fine performance of the Benker, a piece that is hard to find. Flutists looking for new repertoire should hear this - I am going to order several of the pieces----and anyone who enjoys superb music played with passion should find it. It is easily one of my favorite flute discs of the year."

... Chaffee

The Flute View

Jan 2, 2017

 

As the title suggests Jan Vinci’s new CD is a combination of classic 20th century flute compositions as well as several premieres and 21st century works.  This beautiful album introduces us to two new pieces by Vinci’s husband Jazz saxophonist and composer Mark Vinci (Crow’s Nest and TINGsha Bom t-Bom t-Bom) as well as compositions by Jennifer Higdon (Flute Poetic), Katherine Hoover (Medieval Suite), Acht Stucke by Paul Hindemith, and the Griffes Poem.

She writes in her opening notes “Just as a textilist weaves threads into a tapestry, a composer crafts a collage if timbres, rhythms and silence into a soundscape.”  Vinci reflects this beautifully in this multi-faceted album.  Each piece, as she writes in her very well written notes each piece tells a story, and Vinci tells the stories with beautiful, colorful sound, perfect pitch and deep interpretation.  You are aware of how much thought she’s given to each piece on the album and her deep love of presenting this music. 

American FluteScape opens with a newly commissioned work by the brilliant composer Jennifer Higdon called Flute Poetic.  Vinci has known Higdon since she gave her flute lessons in their native Tennessee!  Higdon composed an original first movement and then arranged two movements from her String Poetic for violin and piano.  The result is a terrific new flute sonata by this Pulitzer Prize winning composer.

I loved the new works by Mark Vinci, especially the newest one TINGsha Bom t-Bom t-Bom (cool title) which is for flute and orchestra.  The New York Dream Orchestra made up of top NYC players is expertly conducted by the composer. Mark combines both improvisation and classical structure in both of his pieces, giving the flutist a chance to shine in her own improvisations as well as to show her virtuosity in a range of technical challenges.

Jan is accompanied by the stellar pianist Rieko Uchida, herself a noted chamber musician and soloist.  Their ensemble and interpretations blend perfectly in seamless playing, check out how they and blend lines and trills in Medieval Suite.

Congratulations Jan on a wonderful new album!

You can purchase the CD at: www.Albanyrecords.com or at www.JanVinci.com. The CD was produced, engineered and mastered by Adam Abeshouse at Pelham Studio, Pelham NY and at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music, NYC.

--Barbara Siesel

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