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CD REVIEW: Donna Wissinger/Jon Klibonoff - Amazing Graze, An American Tapestry
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Donna Wissinger and Jon Klibonoff
Website: http://www.eroica.com/
Genre: Easy Listening
CD Review:
The lite sounds coming from flutist Donna Wissinger do indeed give special meaning to some of the quaint and important American anthems that show up on this 65 minute, 23 track cd.

Helped by gifted pianist Jon Kibonoff, the Tapestry weaves with soft skill among the fabric of many composers who have defined this land of ours. There are even some surprises. One might expect Aaron Copland to head the pack with his sweet ‘Simple Gifts’, measured beautifully, breath for breath, by Ms. Wissinger; and of course Copland’s ‘Duo for Flute and Piano’ needs to be here if only from sheer definition of the course offered. A dramatic piece with plenty of room for flute solos.

Some of this I’ve never heard before. Truly, the 2 tracks by Peter Schickele, a.k.a. P.D.Q. Bach, are probably worth the cover charge alone. Known for taking the air out of opera and classical works, it’s actually a rather sublime pleasure to hear ‘Pleasant Song No. 1 & 2’ out of any comic context. Who would’ve thought such lovely ballads would’ve come from the pen of that wacky master! Of course, it Is the way Donna plays ‘em.

Barber’s ‘Canzone’ is equally gentle, 3 moments of dislocated harmony brought into check through accomplished collaboration between wind and keys. I wish this one could go on for half an hour.

Luckily there is something for everyone on this release, from the famed Bernstein ‘Somewhere’ set to fans of original or not well known compositions like ‘Orange and Blue Rag’ by Stella Sung, based on the University of Florida tune. Football fight songs were never like this: breezy, flavored, simply frolicsome.

Ending on a stirringly poignant ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘A Simple Gift’ to round out the package, who am I to contradict The New York Times who calls Donna Wissinger’s ambiance ‘a flutist of rare gifts’? It is music so fresh, you can smell the ink on the arrangements.


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