Bernhard Krabatsch / Ivor Bolton / Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra

Mozart, Johann Baptist Wendling: Flute Concertos

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In the booklet to this release (given in German and English), the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra is billed as "the cutting edge of classical music." It's a hard to hear in this collection of Mozart orchestra accompaniments that are too big for the soloist. Instead, the cutting edge belongs to flutist Bernhard Krabatsch, who plays a unique instrument: a wooden flute with a modern mechanism. The result is a smooth, mellow sound with perfect intonation: agile but a bit quiet compared to the orchestra in the outer movements, and truly lovely in the middle ones. After Mozart's complete works for flute and orchestra, Krabatsch rounds out the program with a Flute Concerto in C major by Johann Baptist Wendling, a flutist of the Mannheim School. It's not clear exactly when this was composed, making Krabatsch's claims of a direct influence on Mozart difficult to evaluate, but it's an attractive piece overflowing with melody. The booklet notes are in an interview format that lets Krabatsch defend his instrument choice in terms of Mozart's well-known dislike for the flute. He argues, essentially, that Mozart would have liked this flute, which represented an advance on the ones he knew, but not modern metal flutes; his belief is that Mozart heard and was bothered by flutes with inaccurate intonation. It's a reasonable theory, and the musical results Krabatsch draws from it are impressive.

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