August 2011 Convention
Charlotte, NC

Keep It Simple

top row: Wendel Dobbs, Andrew Gabbert
bottom row: Barbara Hopkins, Elizabeth Brightbill

photo by Leonard Garrison

This concert featured three expert performers on 19th-century simple-system flutes or models thereof. Elizabeth Brightbill is a freelance flutist and teacher in Virginia, Wendell Dobbs is professor of flute at Marshall University in West Virginia, and Barbara Hopkins is professor of flute at the University of Connecticut. Andrew Gabbert, Brightbill’s partner in the duo “Terra Voce,” joined her and Dobbs for Haydn’s well-known “London” Trio No. 3. Barbara Hopkins, with charming remarks exhibiting a detailed knowledge of flutemakers and players, played several American tunes, including one from John Quincy Adams’ Tunebook. Brightbill and Gabbert followed with a set of Irish jigs entailing spirited interplay. After some humorous historical role-playing, Dobbs and Hopkins performed early arrangements from Rossini.  The concert concluded with two movements from a Kuhlau Trio. This had a much more transparent sound than on modern flutes, and one becomes aware of the sharp contrasts in color between diatonic and chromatic passages.

—Leonard Garrison