Nectaire, the old gardener (a fallen angel) from the novel "The Revolt of the Angels" by Anatole France, plays the flute for his guests. He improvises so beautiful musical nature descriptions that even the animals come and listen to him.
This scene inspired Charles Koechlin to write a three-volume cycle of 96 pieces for solo flute. The 77-year-old composer wrote this collection on the suggestion of the flutist Jean Merry. This CD contains volume 2 with the subtitle "In the antique forest".
Charles Koechlin was born of Alsatian parentage in Paris in 1867. He gained his first musical impressions from his sister's piano playing. At an older age, he was deeply impressed by various musical works, so by Bach's "Pfingstkantate". Due to bad health, he had to abandon his studies in natural sciences at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. In 1890, he joined the composition class of Jules Massenet at the Paris Conservatoire. Further teachers were André Gédalge and Gabriel Fauré, whose incidental music to Maeterlincks "Pelléas et Mélisande" was arranged for orchestra by Koechlin. He also met Claude Debussy and orchestrated his ballet "Khamma". When teaching classes himself, the composers Francis Poulenc and Darius Milhaud were among his students. All his life, he was very interested in numerous areas beyond music, such as literature, philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, cinema and travelling. These areas influenced his vast composition oeuvres. His works, however, hardly attracted interest during his lifetime, as he avoided coteries and salons which would have boosted his career, but preferred to keep his independence.
Charles Koechlin died at the age of 83 years in his house in Le Canadel (Southern France) on New Year’s Eve in 1950.
Flutist Hans Balmer was born in Berne, Switzerland, in 1964. After passing the university-entrance diploma (matura), he attended the Conservatory there as a student of Christian Studler and was awarded the performance certificate "with distinction" in 1990. He attended masterclasses by Aurèle Nicolet, Renate Greiss, Harrie Starreveld and Felix Renggli, amongst others. He received important musical influences from Siegfried Palm, Jörg Ewald Dähler and many more. The Bernese composer and pianist Urs Peter Schneider drew his attention to Charles Koechlin and since then, he is dealing intensively with his music.
He gives concerts at home and abroad, does radio recordings with contemporary music and teaches at a music school in the Bernese Oberland.