MOZART: Concerto in C Major for Flute and Harp, K. 299; Flute Concerto No. 1 in G Major, K. 313; Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major, K. 314 – Emmanuel Pahud, flute/Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp/Berlin Philharmonic |Orchestra/Claudio Abbado
EMI Classics 9 65937 2, 71:06 ****:
Recordings from 22-29 September 1996 from the Philharmonie, Berlin, each of which sparkles with the musical magic that defines Emmanuel Pahud’s virtuosity on his chosen instrument. The breezy lightness of the Flute and Harp Concerto (1778) testifies to a carefree ensemble between Pahud and harpist Langlamet, reminiscent of the good old days of Marcel Moyse and Lily Laskine. Among Mozart’s lengthiest concertos, the Flute and Harp Concerto simply sails by, ornamentally festooned by rapid flourishes for both instruments, diaphanous and aerial. The Andantino in triple time casts a luxuriant air that belies Mozart’s personal disdain for the flute and his patron, Count de Guines’ “heartily stupid and heartily lazy” daughter, for whom the harp part had been conceived. The last movement Rondeau capers in transparent figures, in no small manner attributable to Claudio Abbado’s lovingly modulated balances with the BPO strings, horns, and winds.
The Flute Concerto in G is the result of a Mannheim commission for “three short and undemanding concertos in addition to a pair of flute quartets.” The flute work’s technical demands accommodated the abilities of virtuosos Johann Baptist Wending and Ferdinand Dejean. The dotted rhythms of the opening Allegro maestoso certify a distinct militant affect, while the Rondeau provides a galant-style Tempo di Menuetto in Mozart’s luxuriant perky style. The challenge lies in the D Major Adagio, an expressive stately moment marked by tender figures in the French horn as well as in the string accompaniment and dialogue with the flute solo. The balmy and bucolic movement flows with a graciousness that well borrows from the operatic world of Cosi fan tutte and Il Re Pastore. Pahud provides his own fluent cadenzas for both flute concertos. The flutter-tongue effects in the Rondeau might alone warrant our commitment to this luminous performance.
The Flute Concerto in D (1778) recycles Mozart’s own Oboe Concerto in C, a bit of transposition for which Dejean could not entirely forgive Mozart monetarily. The operatic elements in this concerto appear even more refined than in the G Major, the balanced phrases already looking–no surprise–to The Magic Flute. The fluid central movement–the coloratura Adagio ma non troppo–provides the emotionally piquant and dramatic core of the piece, although the catchy pyrotechnics and impish joy in ensemble of the final Rondeau cannot be denied.