Wolfgang Schulz / Ola Rudner / Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento

Concertos for Flute & Orchestra

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This recording is an international affair, with a Japanese label committing to disc an Austrian flutist and a northern Italian orchestra led by a Swedish conductor. None of the principals is French, and perhaps that's why this program, which includes a couple of disused warhorses, works so nicely -- it might not have occurred to French musicians to include Cécile Chaminade's Concertino for flute and orchestra, Op. 107, and Georges Hüe's Fantasy for flute and orchestra. Chaminade's concertino has given way to her more personal piano music, which seems to provide insights into the thinking of a female composer in a thoroughly male-dominated age. That work and Hüe's fantasy are low-key, songful pieces that emphasize a concealed flute technique rather than overt virtuosity. Flutist Wolfgang Schulz and conductor Ola Rudner find the liveliness in these rather musty works and position them effectively as a kind of andante introduction to the main attraction, which comes in the form of the difficult but elegant concerto of Jacques Ibert and the ebullient, jazz- and popular-flavored concerto of the underrated Jean Françaix. The outer movements of the Ibert don't have quite the careening energy that makes this work come alive, but the program as a whole holds together well and immerses the listener in a musical world that's a bit foreign to contemporary sensibilities. Non-Japanese listeners should note that the booklet, except for the biographies of the performers (which are given in English), is monolingual Japanese.

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