It takes a great deal
of individuality on the part of any
artist - more so than mere virtuosity
and musicianship; the bottom-line requirements
of any good concert or CD! - to stand
out in the crowd in such music as this.
Patrick Gallois is just such an artist.
Far from being a no-name Naxos ‘starter’,
he is already a distinguished and oft-recorded
player. Individuality is everywhere
the hallmark of these hugely enjoyable
Gallois obviously knows
this repertory inside out, but there
is a spontaneity and freshness in this
music-making, which is as far from routine
as can possibly be imagined! One sits
up, takes notice and anticipates the
rest of the programme with nothing but
pleasure. Right from the start, the
orchestral accompaniments are alive
with detail. All manner of inner parts
and bass voices - not just the prominent
melodic lines - are carefully shaped
and articulated. And high-points of
phrases and paragraphs are forever being
marked out with some subtle dynamic
gradation or tempo adjustment.
The flute playing is
beautifully polished. But you’d expect
that. What you don’t expect are
the countless flourishes, cheeky ornaments,
and mischievous fillings-out of simple
lines. Nowhere is this more entertaining
than the trill which marks his first
entry on the disc, during which marcato
grace-notes accumulate and accelerate,
inducing an amused smile on every hearing.
In the returns of the rondo theme in
each of the three last movements, Gallois
plays teasingly with our expectations!
And his appoggiaturas are particularly
diverting - so often much shorter, or
much longer than you normally hear,
and yet always harmonically and stylistically
Here and there (for
example, in the little cadenza he inserts
in the slow movement of K299 - the one
Salieri was so moved by in Amadeus)
Gallois even ‘warms’ a long note by
revolving around it a microtone above
and below. Outrageous? Well, may be.
Eccentric, yes: naughty, perhaps! But
in music so full of good humour as this
- and music written by a composer who,
elsewhere, wrote in different colours
of ink for sheer enjoyment! - it would
take a real pedant or scrooge to object.
Gallois really does blow away the cobwebs!
For the record, his
harpist colleague and the ever-expert
Swedish Chamber Orchestra are equal
to his every request. And the recording
- especially in this arresting SACD
- has admirable depth and ambience,
allowing us to experience everything
from the very best seat in the concert
This is the commonest
(and the most obvious) coupling of Mozart’s
orchestral music featuring solo flute.
But I wonder why it is so sequenced,
with the second concerto (the one Mozart
cobbled together from the pre-existing
Concerto in C major) first, and the
one genuine solo Flute Concerto last.
It matters not. What does matter
is the engaging sense of fun there is
in these refreshingly different performances.
A case for buying it, whether or not
you’ve already got these pieces on your
Peter J Lawson