IBERT; NIELSEN Flute Concertos
Here is a splendid showcase for Thomas Jensen’s magnetic interpretations of these four contrasted items. Nielsen’s Flute Concerto may be a lesser work than his superb Clarinet Concerto but in Jensen’s hands the two substantial movements hang together remarkably well. The first movement finds the flute confronted by trombone and heavy timpani, and later allotted a substantial cadenza, partly accompanied. The second-movement Allegretto is attractively jaunty with the trombone again interrupting, this time including a rude glissando.
The second item on the disc, the Poem by the short-lived American composer Charles T Griffes, is a special favourite of mine, with Jensen lovingly drawing out the evocative melodic writing with its oriental flavours, ending after a big climax with the flute in the low ‘chalumeau’ register. The Ballade of Frank Martin is written for strings and piano, with a varied sequence of ideas exploiting the virtuosity of the flute, including a brief passage in waltz time and a final brisk pay-off.
The Flute Concerto of Jacques Ibert is unashamedly a display piece in a characteristic neo-classical style with the flute chattering away in the first movement, easily melodic in the central slow movement and giving in to jazzy brilliance in the Allegro scherzando finale, a delicious movement superbly performed here not just by Jensen but by the very able South Jutland Symphony Orchestra under Giordano Bellincampi with first-rate sound.