Emmanuel Pahud has quite successfully taken the mantle of the
world’s elite flute players from the likes of Jean Pierre Rampal
and James Galway. With a double whammy as principal flute in the
Berlin Philharmonic and a widely acclaimed solo career combined
with impeccable technique and fashion model good looks, Mr. Pahud
is one of those rare classical musicians whose every new release
is an event. Having covered already a goodly portion of the standard
flute repertoire, he branches out here with three new concertos
that he commissioned to be performed by him with the Berlin Philharmonic.
the three works presented, the opener, a flashy and colorful
piece by Marc-André Dalbavie is the most successful. Of the
three composers, he best understands form and orchestral color.
He alone gives us a soundscape that is interesting and even
challenging, but at the same time engaging, original and enjoyable
to hear. Mr. Pahud actually gets to play his instrument
instead of just producing a stream of sound effects with extended
Jarrell states that he set out to compose a work that would
require the utmost virtuosity of the soloist. There is no
doubt that he accomplishes his mission. But all of this fantastical
writing comes across to these ears as more of a spoiled child’s
“look what I’ve got” than in a real expression of a set of
musical thoughts. I cannot say that the work is devoid of
interesting ideas, but its episodic nature gets a bit tiring
to the ear. It takes a couple of paragraphs of program notes
to explain the work’s construction. I would prefer to get
the idea upon hearing the music for the first time.
Pintscher concerto is another collection of strung together
sound effects that would work a good deal better as the soundtrack
to a good slasher movie than it does as a concert experience.
Rife with one special effects gesture after another, there
is little material here that could be carried home in one’s
head. That is not to say that it is not interesting to hear
just how many fancy tricks that the flute can do in the hands
of a Pahud, but the rather modern tendency to compose such
structure-less stream of consciousness music is wearing thin.
There is really nothing wrong with a good tune, even if it
is a disjointed one.
disc will appeal to the adventuresome and the pseudo-intellectuals
who think that only incomprehensible music is good music.
And, in its defense, the Dalbavie is indeed worth the price
of admission. EMI’s fancy OPENDISC® format gets you access
to video content, interviews, previews from other EMI releases
and points toward free downloads just by inserting the disc
into your computer.