Concert Reviews

“…charming and inviting, and the sound of the ensemble was well-blended and refined. The performances were pleasantly understated. This was a musical presentation of these gently pleasing works.”

Pan, The British Flute Society (2010)

“Jan Boland played her flute with soft, warm, delicate but also intense tone, is a master of ornamentation, and easily handled the notable virtuosity demanded by this music. John Dowdall played his guitar with delicate tone. Jan Boland made music with audible engagement, and the enthusiastic applause was justly deserved. John Dowdall played Sor’s Siciliana very tenderly and with beautiful tone.”

Mittelbayerische Zeitung (Middle Bavarian Newspaper)

“Their concert must be counted among the high points of the festival [Tage Alter Musik]. Above all, Jan Boland was brilliant on the flute and brought an unorthodox, provocative flute interpretation to the highest technical level.”

Musica Sacra

“The Boland-Dowdall Duo offered music filled with intimate shadings and coloration. They enchanted the audience in the Herzogsall with with lovely musical gems from the divertimento art of the 19th-century salon.”

Die Welt (Bonn, Germany)

“Boland and Dowdall travel around the United States and Europe with their flute, guitar and no end of grace and wit.  Saturday’s concert was at the Goethe Institute in Boston, the perfect setting for intimate music-making, and much enjoyed by all.”

The Tech, Boston (1992)

“A high point of the musically rich Sunday was offered by the Boland-Dowdall Duo. Particularly enrapturing was Nicholson’s Roslin Castle performed by the excellent flutist Jan Boland.”

Das Musikinstrument

“A wise choice. The Boland-Dowdall Duo showed the ingenuity to interpret archival research with a charming performance style.”

Die Woche

“Thank you for your lovely recital for our upper-level patrons (at the Metropolitan Museum of Art). You program was perfectly chosen to show off our historical instruments, and your explanatory remarks were much appreciated by the audience.”

Laurence Libin, Metropolitan Museum of Art

“they wowed everybody.”

Chuck Offenberger, Des Moines Register

CD Reviews

Compact disc recordings by the Boland-Dowdall Flute & Guitar Duo.

Best Disc of the Month (June, 1988) Alte Musik Aktuell, Regensburg, Germany
“Marvelous. Very convincing interpretation. Impressive for its simplicity and sensitivity.” (Giuliani, Hummel disc)

Robert Strobl, Alte Musik Aktuel, Regensburg, Germany

“played with conviction and eloquence.” (Kummer disc)

Bart Schmittmann, Fluit (The Netherlands Flute Society) (Vol. 4, 2010)

Best Disc of the Month (June, 1992)
Alte Musik Aktuell, Regensburg, Germany

“Another stellar disc has been released by the American Duo. The artists perform in their customary manner, that is to say, superbly. The disc contains the best in salon music, including one rarity after the other, making this disc a must for romantic freaks, (particularly with regard to historical performance practice!)  Once again, everything is simply splendid.” (Rossini, Mozart disc)

Alte Musik Aktuel, Regensburg, Germany

“The Red Cedar Trio plays this music with elegance and impeccable skill. All three musicians have a warm, rich tone that never has even a hint of edge—a refreshing change of pace when so many musicians, flutists especially, seem to enjoy blasting away all the time. I hope they continue to foster and perform such interesting music.” (Fireflies disc)

Christopher L. Chaffee, American Record Guide (July, 2009)

“…superb recording. The music is light and eminently entertaining. The recording is exceptional, with great depth and breadth. The notes are also exceptionally fine.” (Hummel disc)

Bauman, American Record Guide (March/April, 2008)

“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 subtlety 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 performance.” (Hummel disc)

Jerrold Pritchard, The Flute Network (January, 2008)

Spillville Variations is a group-commissioning project almost dazzling in its simplicity. 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 beginning to end, this collection teases the ear but delivers the kind of musical pay-off that all light music should strive for.” (Czech-Inspired disc)

Ken Smith, Gramophone, London (2006)

“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.” (3-Guys Named Mo disc)

Christopher L. Chaffee, American Record Guide (2005)

“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 are outstanding.”

(Red Cedar Collection disc) John Couch for, Australia (2006)

“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 sizable 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 we want.” (Crystal to Gold disc)

Robert Bigio, Pan – the Flute Magazine (2000)

“Performed with skill, finesse and good humour.” (Rossini, Mozart disc)

Continuo (1993)

“The Bolands handle the flute with remarkable control and finesse, making some highly 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.” (Crystal to Gold disc)

Schmidt, American Record Guide (September/October, 1999)

“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!” (Czech Chamber Music)

Robert Bigio, Pan–the Flute Magazine (December 1998)

“Charming duets, and delicately rendered guitar solos.” (Giuliani Hummel disc)

Guitar Player (Nov. 1988)

“The music on this disc reveals a wonderful sense of Midwest America. This virtuoso ensemble, led by flautist Jan Boland, with John Dowdall on guitar, is highly respected in North America, and these performances convey with authority and beauty the moods and story-lines of the music. It would be pleasing to see similar ensembles in the UK including this music in their repertoire.” (Sollberger disc)

Lisa Nelson, PAN Magazine, Journal of the British Flute Society (December, 2012)

“Red Cedar Chamber Music is a fine collection of players of period nineteenth-century instruments who performed so successfully at the British Flute Society convention this summer. These excellent players produce gorgeous sounds and play this delightful music with elegance, affection and great musicality.” (Kummer disc)  

Robert Bigio, Flute (The British Flute Society) (December, 2010)

“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.” (Hummel disc)

Music Library Association Notes (June, 2008)

“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.” (Hummel disc)

James Manheim, All Music Guide

“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-character 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 Hummel’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 disc)

Richard Stagg, Pan–the Flute Magazine, (June, 2009)

“. . .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 Dowdall’s virtuosic technique through the characteristic and brilliant figurations.” (Czech Inspired disc)

Jerrold Pritchard, The Flute Network (2006)

“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.” (Red Cedar Collection disc)

Jerrold Pritchard, The Flute Network (2004)

“First-rate music in lovely performances recorded to perfection. …the pairing of guitar and flute gets a fine airing. The duo really can swing. Something of a surprise is the transcription of “Summertime,” which builds to quite a powerful climax, suggesting there is power and depth to be had here that the other music does not tap for some reason.” (Red Cedar Collection disc)

John Story, Fanfare (May/June 2004)

“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.”

Stephen Waechter, The Guitar Foundation of America Soundboard, Summer 2001

“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 play.” (Crystal to Gold disc)

Rebecca Lindwall, The Gazette (1999)

“As I write I am enraptured listening to list member Jan Boland’s new CD Crystal to Gold. The performances on this CD include mostly unfamiliar 18th &19th C. music (to me at least) played on early to mid-19th century flutes on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Jan has a real affinity for the music and instruments and plays with sensitivity and musicality of the highest order. What little (finger?) vibrato is employed is used an an ornament. The beauty and focus of her tone belies any claim that constant vibrato is needed or appropriate for this music. Crystal to Gold joins a small but distinguished set of recordings of period flutes. There are a few CDs by Rachel Brown and Konrad Hunteler of 19th C music on 19th C instruments, but Jan’s choice of music and instruments is unique.” (Crystal to Gold disc)

David Dahl, Flutelist (1999)

“What a treat. The CD sings with crisp, engaging melodies that stay in one’s mind long after they are heard.” (Czech Chamber Music disc)

Rebecca Lindwall, The Gazette (1998)

“Executed with technical aplomb and a sense of fun.” (Giuliani Hummel)

Alison Melville Continuo (1990)

“. . . as inspired as the idea that sparked it.” (Red Cedar Collection disc)

Rebecca Lindwall, The Gazette (2003)

Rossini, Mozart et. al.: Serenades from the 19th-Century Salon. Jan Boland, flute, John Dowdall, guitar. Titanic – CD: 182 (1992)

“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’. Certainly a recording worth having.” (Home Sweet Home)
Dennis Clark, Pan–the Flute Magazine (1996)

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