Jane Rutter

Mozart's Flute

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Jane Rutter is said to be a major classical star in Australia, apparently able to get away with things like dressing up as Mozart on the cover of an album. She writes in the admirably concise but informative booklet that she sought to combine historical-performance considerations with "those of the twentieth century flute style (the Rampal School)" of which she herself is an exemplar. These plans are realized in a short program that certainly has loads of competition in the marketplace but that in places stands out for its sheer liveliness and its grasp of Mozart's French idiom. From historically oriented performers come the addition of ornamentation (generally tastefully and cleverly done except for a few places where basic thematic material is altered in a heavy-handed way on its reappearance), the use of a harpsichord continuo (you barely know it's there, but it adds a distinctive sharpness to the rhythms), performer-composed cadenzas, and the selection of a small ensemble, the Sydney Bach Orchestra. From the Rampal style comes Rutter's own sparkling playing, which is nicely paired by a turn at the podium from venerable Australian conductor Richard Bonynge. Together the musicians catch the elusively sweet, evanescent quality of the music Mozart wrote during his Parisian journey. The only disappointment comes in the Concerto for flute, harp, and orchestra, K. 299, where the engineering virtually cuts off the upper register of harpist Louise Johnson. The small audience of an eighteenth century drawing room would have been able to hear that register and enjoy the harpist's irrepressible interaction with the flute, but it doesn't happen here. There is nevertheless a combination of attractive playing and innovative thinking that will appeal to most who hear this release.

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