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Marc-André DALBAVIE (b. 1961)
1. Flute Concerto (2006) [17:07]
Michael JARRELL (b. 1958)
2. … un temps de silence … (2007) [18:58]
Matthias PINTSCHER (b. 1971)
3. Transir (2005/6) [18:54]
Emmanuel Pahud (flute)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France/Peter Eötvös (1), Pascal Rophé (2), Matthias Pintscher (3)
rec. Salle Olivier Messiaen, Radio France Studio, 1 December 2006 (1), 9-11 July 2007 (2,3)
EMI CLASSICS 5012262 [54:59]
Experience Classicsonline

These recent flute concertos were all commissioned for Emmanuel Pahud by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Zürich Tonhalle (Dalbavie), the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (Jarrell) and the Lucerne Festival (Pintscher). Although all three works are clearly contemporary, they are nevertheless considerably different in character and in style.
Dalbavie’s Flute Concerto is certainly the most classically conceived work here. It is scored for a standard orchestra of double woodwind, strings and timpani. The music is characterised by clarity and transparency and very often brings Ibert to mind, albeit with some “update”. Although it has its darker corners, this is mostly playful, animated and often ebullient, at least in the outer sections. The often virtuosic solo part is beautifully tailored although it also calls for considerable musicality. This is an attractive addition to the repertoire that should become as popular as Jacques Ibert’s lovely and quite popular Flute Concerto.
I have already had some opportunities to tell you of my enthusiasm about Michael Jarrell’s music. Recently I reviewed a new Aeon disc entirely devoted to his orchestral music. That release included three substantial concertante works. His Flute Concerto “… un temps de silence …” is a worthy successor to the other works available on the Aeon disc. Globally, it is conceived along the same lines: a fairly substantial single movement falling into three contrasting sections capped by a slow epilogue. It opens with three marcato chords for strings which will return later, albeit differently scored, but nevertheless functioning as an anchor point throughout the piece. The first section is animated and often intricate. An imposing tutti introduces the central, mostly static, but melody-dominated section, in which the music slows considerably. After a short pause, the final section is launched by the soloist who now seems to be willing to assert himself and dictate the orchestra’s behaviour. Two of the opening chords put an end to the restlessness and the music slowly dissolves in a dreamy, beautifully atmospheric epilogue in which time comes to stand still.
In his notes about his Flute Concerto, Matthias Pintscher mentions that “Transir” is an old French word “describing the phase of transition, or the passage itself”. This I must take for granted, but the word “Transir” also has another, more down-to-earth meaning: “To freeze to the bone”. Both meanings of the word are reflected in the music, since the work is conceived as an instrumental Requiem in memory of a young French composer Dominique Troncin who had encouraged Pintscher to take his first steps as a composer. Shortly before his untimely death of the age of 33, Troncin had sent Pintscher sketches of a work that he was no longer able to complete that bore the title of “Transir”. This is how and why Pintscher composed Transir in memory of Troncin. The music is rather more sparse than that of the other works recorded here, but in no way less imaginative. On the whole, it sounds like a slow, coolly undemonstrative though deeply felt ritual. The music may be somewhat more radical than that of Dalbavie’s and Jarrell’s works, though never extravagantly so.
Emmanuel Pahud is a beautifully equipped musician with flawless technique and musicality. He plays beautifully throughout these undoubtedly demanding, but ultimately rewarding works. These pieces in all of their diversity are most welcome additions to the repertoire. This is one of the finest releases that I have heard recently. This is contemporary music with considerable appeal.
Hubert Culot

see also review by Kevin Sutton



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