Saturday, November 24, 2018

I Love Paris

Jane Rutter - Madame Flute
I Love Paris.  Salon at The Street, hosted by Jane Rutter (flute) accompanied by Marcello Maio (accordion and piano).  The Street Theatre, Canberra, Friday November 23, 2018.

Reviewed by Frank McKone

Jane Rutter told her story of how she came to be taught by the famous French flautist, Jean-Pierre Louis Rampal, in Paris at the age of eighteen. 

Lots of people in today’s audience nodded their heads wisely as she mentioned her enthusiasm for Rampal’s recordings – bought by her parents from the World Record Club.  I well remember those too, as I started buying them as soon as the World Record Club started up in Australia in 1958 – the year I began uni, and the very year Jane Rutter was born.  So I felt quite at home with my old vinyls – they’re still comfortably stacked, waiting for their turn on the turntable.

So it was a very pleasant fireside chat about her living in Paris for four years at that time, and how much French music, from Debussy through Sati to Charles Aznavour, from mediaeval Gregorian chant to 20th Century cabaret, became her favourite thing.

Just as she became a favourite French thing, being dubbed Madame Flute and receiving the prestigious award Chevalière de l’Ordre des Arts at Lettres (though she seemed a little bemused, or at least amused, to think of herself as a Knight).

It was a bit like a family slide night, except that the pictures were all pieces of music, performed with her signature sensitivity and emotional depth.  Marcello Maio, switching regularly between piano accordion and grand piano, was far more than mere accompanist. 

In fact, I felt that in the early stages Jane seemed a touch less confident than I expected – in telling her story; but never when expressing herself through her flute, of course; or rather several different kinds of flute.  Marcello provided a strength of musicianship and warmth of personality which brought everything together as the hour and ten progressed.

So, as we all had hoped, extra pieces and encores took the show to a good hour and a half, taking us out into the foyer for supper.  But only after we had joined in, according to the degree of our Frenchness, to the theme and variations (including even a touch of Waltzing Matilda) on La Marseillaise.

My phone couldn't cope with the lighting too well, but here's an impression of Jane and Marcello in action:
Photo: Frank McKone (with permission)