For this album, I commissioned six Dutch composers to write new music for the ‘classical’ combination of piccolo and piano, highlighting the piccolo in a wide variety of different guises. It whispers, sings, cries and even screams at times. One moment it revels in virtuoso acrobatics, the next it moans in hushed undertones. The whole gamut of its expressive potential is explored.
The compositions on this recording also demonstrate the variety and remarkable standard of contemporary music in The Netherlands. I therefore carefully selected composers who not only show affinity with the piccolo, but also speak with a unique voice, each showcasing the diversity of musical creativity in my home country.
Ilonka Kolthof | The Netherlands
Photo: Brendon Heinst
''Kolthof plays with mastery, with a tone that is at times sweet, gentle, and lyrical, and at others strident, strong and assertive. Her articulation and technique are particularly good, as is her pitch - and every bit of that is in service to her sense of expression.”
- The Flutist Quarterly, 2021 Winter issue
''The Kolthof /Van Raat partnership is dazzling.''
''(...) their pianissimo releases are simply breathtaking.''
''With her (Ilonka Kolthof’s) recital partner Ralph van Raat at the piano, she makes the seemingly impossible, possible (…)'' - Luister Magazine, 2020 Summer issue (9/10)
''What is striking is the enormous diversity of atmospheres, sounds and playing techniques Ilonka conjures up from the piccolo.''
- Music Emotion, 2020 April issue (9.5/10)
‘‘The performances on this recording are first rate. The ensemble playing between the two is exceptional, and the two musicians play off another creating some remarkable tone colors.’’
- Flute Talk Magazine, 2020 March issue
“Kolthof impresses with alternating brilliant and lyrical playing. Pianist Ralph van Raat excels in the demanding keyboard parts.”
- NRC ****
“Ilonka's playing is elegant and refined, even in staccato and flutter tongue. Control is the key word, also in Ralph van Raat's piano playing. Recommended!''
- FLUIT, 2020 Spring issue
“Kolthof never sounds shrill and she whispers with her instrument (...). Her partner in crime is the unparalleled Ralph van Raat, who brings to the limelight, amongst others, Jan Vriend’s Sonata with much urgency.''
- De Volkskrant ****
''(In Spaan's piece 'Halo') Kolthof treats the piccolo in a very unorthodox way. Blowing over the mouthpiece produces a thin wind, which contrasts beautifully with Van Raat's 'almost' classically romantic piano playing.''
- Nieuwe Noten
“It’s remarkable that in chamber music, the piccolo loses its brittleness, and sounds very sweet and sympathetic.”
“(...) the real beauty of this album resides in their playing and in the recording (...): extremely clear, with an unprecedented definition and yet with that so essential dose of glow and warmth.”
- Opus Klassiek