Swiss flutist Emmanuel Pahud, who is one of the candidates to replace the great crowd-pleasing flutists of the last generation, and guitarist Christian Rivet join forces here to attempt a new take on the light pan-ethnic flute-and-guitar recital. The results are positive but a bit uneven. There are many beautiful moments, and they begin with the opening arrangements of Bartók's Romanian Folk Dances. Pahud simply has a hypnotic way with these: clean, graceful, and with a certain light humor. The good news continues with Ravi Shankar's L'aube enchantée, one of the Indian sitar master's little-heralded attempts to transfer his art to Western instruments. After that it's a mixed bag. Rivet's own Clap takes inspiration from a variety of American vernacular forms; you can hear them in this modernistic music if you're told about it ahead of time. Several Baroque pieces fit only tangentially with the album's Around the World theme, and with Elliott Carter's Scrivo in vento the connection is particularly tenuous; the work's international aspect seems to reside solely in its inspiration by a Petrarchan sonnet, and Carter would have detested the entire idea. At the end there is material that's better suited to the program, and it's beautifully performed: Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa's Itsuki no komori uta exemplifies this composer's remarkable ability to write evocative music with the sparest of materials, and Astor Piazzolla's Histoire du tango is again very elegantly done. The whole comes off as a bit of an experiment with perhaps a bit too much marketing applied, but in parts it points the way to a new stage of flute recital.
Around the World Review
by James Manheim