Compact Disc Recordings
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"played with conviction and eloquence."
"This is a performance on period instruments. The playing is excellent,
and the tone qualities are charming. The intonation is spot on, and
so is all the technique. Flutists Jan Boland and Douglas Worthen carry
this program, playing as one. Superb notes by guitarist John Dowdall
and Boland trace the players' history with this music to discoveries
at the Library of Congress."
"The Red Cedar Trio plays this music with elegance and impeccable skill.
All three musicians
"There are three inspired, colourful, beguiling sets of pieces on
this CD. The performances are vibrant and full-blooded, capable of ironic
humour as well as exuberance and melancholy, as this unusual music demands."
"The Red Cedar Chamber Music enterprise has released a number of
valuable CDs under the artistic direction of guitarist John Dowdall. Configured
here as the Red Cedar Trio, Dowdall is joined by Jan Boland on flute and
David Miller on viola. All of the payers are first rate and perform as
a perfectly refined ensemble, but the playing of violist Miller is quite
remarkable, his tone is crisp and precise, devoid of the tubby sound which
in lesser hands can afflict the instrument. ...the disc is very much to
be recommended for the other two works. Recorded sound is very good.
"As always, flutist Boland’s sure technique and sweet tone are
perfection itself, and her pure intonation on the wooden 11-keyed “simple
system” flute of the time is just remarkable. She makes her musical
expression with a subtilty of dynamics and shading of tone; she does not
need the cloying and continuous vibrato used today to gain the audience’s
attention. The color and clarity of the higher tuning of the terz guitar
gives Dowdall’s tone a quiet yet balanced brilliance that matches
the fortepiano nicely and is never lost in the thicker textures. Throughout,
fortepianist Bogard holds the works firmly together with great rhythmic
vitality, a steadying hand, and flowing and well-directed melodic lines.
All the members of the ensemble have grand technique and a cantabile style
that allows the listener to sit back and bask in this sunny and romantic
"Red Cedar Chamber Music, led by its core duo of flutist, Jan Boland
and guitarist, John Dowdall, sound almost as if they are dancing as they
play this charming and impressive music, particularly on their delightful
rendition of the Potpourri, and Boland is particularly to be noted for
her ability to wrestle sweet and beautifully in-tune sounds from the rather
difficult nineteenth-century flute. Very highly recommended."
"…outstanding presentation. The musicians masterfully perform
the Grande Serenade en Potpourri on authentic period instruments,
achieving an unusual texture not found in many recordings of music of
"…superb recording. The music is light and eminently entertaining.
The recording is exceptional, with great depth and breadth. The notes
are also exceptionally fine."
"The most attractive feature of the disc is the set of authentic
instruments used, especially the rather mournfully warm wooden flute of
Jan Boland; the Iowa ensemble Red Cedar Chamber Music plays accurately
and enthusiastically throughout."
"The performances by Red Cedar Chamber Music are, in a purely technical
sense, polished and effective."
"The members of the Red Cedar Chamber Music group make a very convincing
display of their focus on early nineteenth-century performing style. The
playing of the ensemble is immaculate, with balance, phrasing and dynamics
all occupying top priority. These factors alone ensure that this disc
makes delightful listening and a fascinating glimpse into the sound-world
of turn-of-the-eighteenth-century Vienna. The group's flutist, Jan Boland,
holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Iowa. Her mastery
of the eleven-keyed flute is impressive. It has a sound-chracter quite
different from that of the modern Boehm flute, but one that seems to be
perfectly fitted to the musical needs of its time. She brings to it a
broad dynamic range and an excellent control of intonation. This group certainly
deserves to have a secure future. They make the most of Hiemal's delicious
sonorities and also of the opportunities for solo display in the many
variation movements. Whether you plan to use it for background (or even
foreground) music, I urge you to buy the disc".
"(Hummel is) brilliantly performed on this CD by Red Cedar Chamber
Music on period instruments. The performance of Seibelt's La Tempesta
di Mare (in the middle of the Grand Serenade Op. 66 no.2) on
the fortepiano by Theresa Bogard is just stunning."
Recorded June 2005 in King Chapel, Mount Vernon, IA.
"Spillville Variations is a group-commissioning project almost
dazzling in its simplicity: get a dozen or so Iowa-born or Iowa-based composers to provide one short variation each based on a theme from the Scherzo of Dvorak’s American String Quartet, an 1893 piece that just happens to have been composed in the largely Czech-populated town of Spillville, Iowa. This project has obviously struck a rich compositional
vein. The composers gathered here rise to the occasion and do justice
to both their honoree [Dvorak] and their performers. One could hardly
imagine, in fact, a collection that keeps its ensemble close while putting
them through such a full range of maneuvres. From the respective canon and fugue of Peter Hamlin and Peter Bloesch to the dance inspirations of Lyle Dockendorff’s ‘Spillville Waltz’ and Lucas Gullickson’s ‘Facing West’, these miniatures balance distinctive gravitas with a certain lightness of touch. From the modernist heights of Harvey Sollberger’s ‘Dvorak and the Scarlet Tanager/his ‘damn bird’’ to the bluesy depths of Pat Smith’s ‘Spillville Blue’, no reference is too esoteric to evoke or too low to riff on. From beginning to end, this
collection teases the ear but delivers the kind of musical pay-off that
all light music should strive for."
"This the fourth CD released by the Red Cedar Trio (Jan Boland,
flute, David Miller, viola, and John Dowdall, guitar) and their ensemble
playing and the fresh literature they play just gets better and better.
Throughout the entire CD Boland's flute tone is clear, sweet, and lyrical;
her deft shadings of color and nuance, and her eloquent phrase endings
bring out the full potential of her wooden head joint made by master craftsman
Chris Abell. I cannot leave this review without commenting on the warm
tone, impeccable intonation, and sure technique of violist David Miller.
He balances and blends the sound of the flute and guitar so sympathetically
and musically that the ensemble melds into an integrated whole. We would
that all chamber music was played so sensitively and exquisitely. Prominent
and dashing guitar solos reveal John Dowdalls' virtuosic technique through
the characteristic and brilliant figurations."
"For Spillville Variations, the Trio selected a theme from Dvorak's
American String Quartet in F Major, and commissioned 15 composers each
to write one variation. The result is a delightful collage, or one might
say collision, of diverse musical styles and inspirations, from serious
contemporary music, through blues, soft jazz, Klezmer, and, if I'm not
mistaken, heavy-metal rock, all beautifully played by world-class musicians.
Like the ingredients of your favorite Thai dish, it might sound like a
strange combination, but it really works!"
Three Guys Named Mo
on period instruments
"The Red Cedar Trio plays this music with elegance and
ease, never overplaying. They achieve a wonderful balance as an ensemble.
As the melodies bounce around between instruments, each comes to the forefront
with clean, graceful sound. If you want music that will make you smile,
find this disc."
"The CD is really wonderful. Three stunning artists join in perfect harmony to produce salon music at its best. In this performance, the ensemble is so gorgeous that it is obvious this trio thinks with complete unanimity. All three performers are excellent. They play with delicate articulation, charm and conviction. American flute player Jan Boland, playing on a ten-keyed instrument of 1830 by Joseph Ziegler, demonstrates perfect technical control and interpretive qualities of the highest order.""
The Red Cedar Collection
"The second part of this disc can be accurately described
as cool. It is all blues-inspired classical music for the duet, solo flute
and solo guitar. Jethro Tull eat your heart out when it comes to the solo
flute blues piece Fish are Jumping by Robert Dick. Boland's playing
gives a cool rhythmic groove with fantastic articulation and bends, and
I love the train like harmonics. This piece just sounds like it is a lot
of fun to play. In the guitar solo pieces, Dowdall gets a chilled back
feel going during his solo pieces of Charlie Byrd. Based on 12 bar patterns
he shows off a few cool licks in between a rhythmic blues vamp. I have
very much enjoyed this CD. The playing is excellent and expressive. The
sound quality is clear and well balanced between the instruments. Both
players are tight together with the ensemble and their interpretations
"As always, the playing and interpretations by Boland and Dowdall are just stunning in their richness, clarity, expressiveness and ensemble. The overall effect is the kind of brilliance and diversity that holds the listener in thrall. This is an ensemble that is having a major impact on the musical life of their community, their region, their profession, and the broader musical world.""
"A new recording
by flutist Jan Boland and guitarist John Dowdall of Red Cedar Chamber
Music is as inspired as the idea that sparked it. Boland's flute billows
like fabric in the wind, with Dowdall's guitar punctuating her lyrical
lines. In Caution to the Wind (get over it), New York composer
Gary Schocker gives breathless and lilting interpretation to Malvina Hoffman's
in lovely performances recorded to perfection. ...the pairing of guitar
and flute gets a fine airing. The duo really can swing."
"I love the recording
and recommend it to all...."
Both Boland and Dowdall have a warm, pure tone."
"This interesting CD grew out of an innovative commissioning project.
The results form the first half of the disc and, while all contemporary
in sound, feature a range of styles and influences, from modal, improvisatory
pieces to Copland-inspired works. The playing throughout the CD is of
a high quality, with a natural sense of ensemble, and, all-in-all, it
makes for an enjoyable listen. I'll be hunting out the relevant sheet
music (and artwork) in due course."
Distributed by Naxos of America
"Elegant, charming and beautiful are a few terms that could be used to describe this disc. A terrific recording in terms of musical pleasure and performing excellence. The overall sonority...is simply lovely. The performers are obviously totally committed artistically...their ensemble skills are excellent, and their attention to detail is exemplary. The sense of jocularity from all three players in both works is refreshing."
"The first impression on hearing this disc is of a mellow and appealing tone-quality
and well-balanced texture. The playing is always beautifully phrased and
technically flawless -- the intonation problems that beset so many exponents
of period instruments are wholly absent here."
"All three performers are top rate; this is an instructive and imaginatively programmed CD."
"...music that should please most listeners with its playfulness. Boland's flute, in particular, has a wistful character. This CD will appeal to...anyone who enjoys the small pleasures afforded by chamber music."
"A sublime repast. This recording is a plum. Courtly, playful, and plaintive. The superior musicianship of this trio is no surprise."
"The ensemble's performance is elegant. Impeccable historical style...will draw the listener into the intimate ambiance and mood they create. The recording is exceptional in clarity and presence. The pieces are at once charming and profound."
"The ear is constantly charmed. Idiomatic flair and affectionate warmth. Interesting performances, and a brace of distinctive, engaging chamber works. Excellent and enterprising ensemble. A keen-edged and diligent performance."
On loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art for this Project:
"I have long been a fan of Jan Boland's elegant musicianship, and
it is here in evidence in every notes she plays. She and the excellent
guitarist John Dowdall have used a collection of instruments from the
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jan Boland is joined by her daughter Amy in
some Haydn duets played on a pair of crystal flutes by the remarkable
Parisian maker Claude Laurent. These beautiful instruments must have cost
a sizeable fortune, and they sound remarkably good, too. It would have
been easy for a recording like this to be gimmicky, but the performances
are excellent and the music is a joy to listen to, and that's surely all
"Rare 'Gold' Shines. Boland & Dowdall have a wonderful
knack for leading listeners down the path not taken, and rewarding them
with rare riches from the past. The clarity of the recording, not to mention
the quality of the performing, is excellent. My favorite selection is
the joyful opening dance, 'Tambourin.' It grabbed me every time I pushed
"The Bolands handle the flute with remarkable control and finesse, making
some highy expressive music in the process. Dowdall's facile guitar work
offers both sensitive accompaniments and a gentle haunting sound. The
vocal quality of these flutes is quite striking, particularly in such
selections as the Foster melodies."
"very expressive. Played with warmth and intimacy."
"Flutists and guitarists who are interested in original instruments will
doubtless find this release essential."
David Dahl, Flutelist (1999)
Czech Chamber Music
Wenceslaus Matiegka (1773-1830), like other musicians of his generation, was drawn to Vienna by the brilliance of its cultural heritage and its vibrant artistic life. When Matiegka arrived in Vienna from his native Czechoslovakia in 1800, the musical genius of Mozart and Beethoven was already firmly woven into the city's cultural fabric. For Matiegka to have any musical impact in this rarefied artistic atmosphere where virtuosic brilliance was expected and genius was not uncommon, he had to possess considerable talents as both a performer and a composer.
"The players on this disc give every impression of enjoying themselves
hugely and their enjoyment shines out from every note. Jan Boland uses
a flute of about 1820 made by the Viennese Stephan Koch, and the two string
players use period instruments as well. The playing is excellent. No allowance
needs to be made for the early flute, which is exactly as it should be.
Jan Boland makes a beautiful sound on her old flute, free of affectation
and of the overwhelming vibrato that spoils so many performances by modern
flute players. This is some of the most enjoyable music-making to have
graced my home in a long time. Delicious!"
"Matiegka's music is a delightful addition to any classical music
collection, rendered thoughtfully and beautifully on period instruments
by Jan Boland, David Miller and John Dowdall."
"What a treat. The CD sings with crisp, engaging melodies that stay in one's mind long after they are heard."
John Sunier, Audiofile Audition (January, 2001
"Intimate parlor music, warm and friendly, inventive enough to engage the careful listener, but also free of jarring or intrusive noises. .. excellent performances."
Robert McColley, Fanfare (1998)
Home Sweet Home
Music, as well as anything, helps us to recapture some essence of what American and Americans were all about during the War Between the States. While deep-seated philosophical differences split our union apart and drove our nation to war, troops and civilians alike were drawn together by the songs they sang and played. This recording brings together the dances, sentimental ballads and war songs which fueled the musical fire of the American Civil War Era.
"The playing is eloquent in its clarity and unfussy simplicity, and is captured on a clean and airy recording. Boland and Dowdall's art is an informed music-making that vividly and hauntingly conjures up a moment in American history."
"The music on this disc is all simple, unprofound stuff, but therein lies its appeal. The Boland-Dowdall Duo perform this material with just the right kind of light touch. They succeed in doing what I think is one of the most important tasks of period-instrument performance: to transport the listener back in time. Of course, it is also possible to enjoy this disc from the purely instrumental standpoint: two fine performers fully in command of their instruments and captured in realistic, intimate sound."
"Subtitled Parlor Music from the Civil War (across the Pond) this is all pleasant stuff and easy on the ear. Jan Boland specialises in early flutes and is playing on a flute with 11 keys by Stephan Koch, Vienna (c.1820). John Dowdall is playing a 19th century gut strung guitar. My family and friends, both musical and unmusical, have enjoyed listening to this disc, partly because of the music but even more, I suspect, because it sounds as though there is a real person on the end of the flute and moreover someone who is having a good time. On hearing such musical and technically competent playing with such a beguiling sound I began to wonder how the Boehm flute ever caught on. Stephen Foster, mostly known for his songs, is here represented by arrangements of some of these and of some of his instrumental works. Variations on popular airs were much in vogue at this period and examples here include Kummer's Home Sweet Home and Nicholson's Auld Lang Syne. Having spent my first year's flute-playing on an eight keyed flute with the help of Rockstro's book from my local library I was particularly interested to hear Jan Boland's use of 'slides' and 'sensitive notes'. The programme notes include in part the notice, probably referring to Nicholson's playing on how to play a set of variations (recently reprinted in Pan) and attributes it to Rockstro, who doesn't claim it as his own, and he was by no means a modest man. This disc includes a number of pieces by and arranged by Septimus Winner and others. Certainly a recording worth having."
"This lovely collection of sweet songs revive a simpler era with music kind and gentle."
"Charming perfomance. A fetching collection of Americana. Boland's 11-keyed flute is haunting."."
Rossini, Mozart et al.
on period instruments
"Elegant and entertaining. Boland's flute sound is full of warmth and without a hint of the shrillness sometimes heard on a modern flute. Boland's phrasing is natural and beautiful. Dowdall achieves a delicacy and warmth not often heard from larger, modern guitars. Their impeccable, balanced performances gracefully capture the period music."
Giuliani, Hummel, et al.
Also available from Boland & Dowdall. Call 319/377-8028.
"Jan Boland and John Dowdall have successfully accessed works of the classical period. The result is marvelous; [the music] sounds facile and light without the slightest trace of sobbing excess of senile pathos. The interpretation is very convincing, impressive for its simplicity and sensitivity."
"Rarely have I heard a recording of such elegance and sonic charm. Jan’s flute has an absolutely captivating timbre, helped of course by the great recording, but the intonation, phrasing & articulation The intonation, phrasing kept the disc on my player all week."
"The disc is a masterpiece. Boland and Dowdall’s playing is a remarkable example of perfect musical understanding. Their vintage instruments are played with an emphasis on achieving an astonishingly mellow quality. The somber flute solo Roslin Castle is devoted to a vintage 11-keyed flute by Stephan Koch that proves itself totally tantalizing. I must confess total gratification. One of the best serious recordings of 1988."
"Elegant and charming."
"While charming duets dominate this all-digital CD, Dowdall offers up delicate renderings of two popular studies by Fernando Sor."
"The Boland-Dowdall Duo is the foremost flute and guitar duo performing 19th-century music on authentic period instruments. Particularly sensitive to the nuances of these early instruments, the performers exhibit a very healthy balance between familiarity with their instruments and research into performance practice of the period. Their sounds blend together almost poetically--the recording quality is exceptional."
"Executed with technical aplomb and a sense of fun."
Copyright 2006 by Red Cedar Chamber Music. All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 154, Marion, Iowa 52302-0154 – Tel: 319-377-8028