MOZART; MYSLIVEČEK Flute Concertos (de la Vega)
For all his protestations about how he detested the flute, Mozart nevertheless gave flautists two of the founding works of their concert repertoire – even if one is a knock-off from his sole oboe concerto. Ana de la Vega becomes the latest to record them; a flautist now based in north Germany but born in Australia to British and Argentinian parents and who studied in France before becoming principal flute of the Norte Symphony Orchestra in Portugal.
She is a charming, persuasive advocate for these two indelible works. The English Chamber Orchestra, too, offer fine support and, with a range of tone colours (the muted central movement of the G major First Concerto is a particular highlight) match de la Vega’s recreative imagination. Pentatone has played its part as well, capturing these performances (Henry Wood Hall in London) in particularly clear sound, without letting it become too analytical. Compare this with the far more generous EMI acoustic for Emmanuel Pahud’s recording of the two Mozart concertos and de la Vega perhaps comes off best, even with her more audible snatches of breath between phrases.
De la Vega sells these two works as comprehensively as Pahud, even if, as so often, his articulation and rhythmic point remains unmatched. His coupling is the Concerto for flute and harp, understandably enough; de la Vega goes one better and offers the first recording of a Concerto in D by Josef Mysliveček, a profound influence on Mozart. As with his violin concertos, which I reviewed in the July issue (Accent), this work is one that displays the utmost craftsmanship and appeal but which nevertheless relies on a fine performance to render it memorable. Ana de la Vega gives it just that.