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Vivaldi, Flute Concertos, Australian Chamber Orchestra, R. Tognetti (released on January 24, 2006)
Emmanuel Pahud, one of the leading flutists of the younger generation (b. 1970), has made some spectacular recordings (we have reviewed him only tangentially, playing the flute part on Pierre-Laurent Aimard's recording of the Ives Concord Sonata) and played extraordinarily with the Berlin Philharmonic before embarking on a solo career. As part of a brief U.S. tour, Pahud will be in Washington next week, to play a recital with pianist Eric Le Sage, his regular artistic collaborator (the program of Reinecke, Strauss, Widor, and Franck drawn from recent CDs), at the Phillips Collection next Wednesday (November 7, 7:30 pm) and to appear as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra (November 8 to 10). Do flute soloists always have to play Mozart with the NSO? James Galway played no. 2 (K. 314) last year, and Pahud will play no. 1 (K. 313). Pahud's Web schedule, out of date in other ways, lists him playing the Carl Reinecke concerto with the NSO! What happened?
Reinecke, Undine Sonata, with Y. Bronfman (2007)
Widor, Franck, Strauss, with E. Le Sage (2004)
Mozart, Flute Concertos, Berlin Philharmonic (1997)
Pahud's recording of the Mozart concertos is exceptional, so no one should complain too much. Still, it might be nice to hear something different. Pahud's bravura recording of eight Vivaldi concerti makes one think of Vivaldi, but the NSO would not sound anything like the superlative Australian Chamber Orchestra (reviewed earlier this year). Pahud's tone is clear, with minimal vibrato, always at the center of the pitch, almost too glossy and wan at times (like translucent porcelain in the slow movement of RV 434). His technique is always impressive, as in the third movement of RV 433 ("La tempesta di mare," the sea storm), with its bubbling, flutter-tongued upward runs. Vivaldi adapted many of these concerti for the traverso from previous pieces, and Pahud makes the most of the idiomatic shift from other instruments, as in RV 428 ("Il gardellino," the goldfinch), with its dialogue of avian calls with Richard Tognetti's solo violin. The articulation and embellishment are crisp and diverse, like the contrast of legato arpeggios with perfect staccato ones in the fourth movement of RV 439 ("La notte," the night). Put this on the shelf with other worthy Vivaldi recent releases, like the cello concerti, the operas Griselda, Bajazet, and Motezuma, and the motets.
EMI Classics 0946 3 47212 2 6