Flute Concertos at Sanssouci
Frederick II (King of Prussia) (1712-1786)
Flute Concerto No. 3 in C major
Johann Joachim QUANTZ (1697-1773)
Capriccio in G major
Capriccio in B major
Flute Concerto in G major, QV 5:174
Prelude in D major
Franz BENDA (1722-1795)
Flute Concerto in E minor
Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Flute Sonata in A minor, Wq. 132, H. 562
Emmanuel Pahud (flute)
Kammerakademie Potsdam/Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord)
rec. live, October, 2010, Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam
Video Director: Beatrix Conrad
Sound: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
Picture: 1080i
Region: 0 (worldwide)
UNITEL 711404 BLU-RAY [78:00]
In October, 2011, Emmanuel Pahud gave a concert at Sanssouci, Frederick II’s castle in Potsdam. Obviously designed to support his recent CD release of flute concertos (review), this concert presents works by King Frederick himself, who was no mean composer, along with C.P.E. Bach, Johann Joachim Quantz and Franz Benda. Some of the works are included on the CD, and a couple are not.
The works include both concertos and solo works for flute. For example, the Capriccios by Quantz are both solo works, as is the C.P.E. Bach sonata in A minor. The concert was performed in a small theater - Royal Theatre of Potsdam’s Neues Palais, part of the Sanssouci ensemble - with a stage just big enough for the twenty-odd performers, most of whom stand up. One of the Quantz Capriccios - the G Major - was recorded in a different room of the castle, outside the concert. There are also a few shots of Pahud dressed up in period costume, a tricorn on his head, walking around the castle grounds. Aside from these campy bits, however, this concert is tastefully filmed, with the cameras not intrusive, yet showing sufficiently the musicians as they perform.
The overall concert has a tone of fresh air, which the baroque flute often provides. The music is delightfully relaxing yet lively, full of virtuoso passages, designed to show of Pahud’s skills, yet are never just for flash. The Kammerakademie Potsdam, led by Trevor Pinnock from the harpsichord, is a fine ensemble that backs up Pahud perfectly. The small forces here allow the flute to stand out, and let Pahud’s dexterity shine. The C.P.E. Bach A Minor sonata is an impressive work for solo flute. At around 15 minutes, in three movements, it clearly shows the elder Bach’s influence, but with C.P.E.’s own unique style of composition. It sounds as though it is a concerto with an invisible and silent ensemble; when listening, you can almost hear how an ensemble would accompany it. Yet it doesn’t want for their absence.
Both sound and image quality are excellent, offering a pleasant evening’s entertainment. Pity that it’s only 78 minutes long; another work, perhaps part of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Musical Offering, composed for King Frederick, would have been welcome but for that, you can get the CD.
Kirk McElhearn 

A pleasant evening’s entertainment of baroque flute concertos.