MOZART; NIELSEN Flute Concertos
When it comes to recordings of Mozart’s First Flute Concerto the choices of partner works are rarely of an originality to get anyone’s pulse racing. A dead cert is usually the Flute and Harp Concerto, as is his Andante in C major. Then, having run out of Mozart repertoire written specifically for the flute, it’s usually over to the spuriously named Flute Concerto No 2 that’s really an arrangement of the Oboe Concerto, and the Rondo in D major that started life as a work for violin soloist.
These determinedly all-Mozart programmes make for undeniably pleasant listening but there’s also a faintly depressing sense of resignation about them: ‘Folks, we weren’t exactly drowning in options here’, etc. As a result, the fact that Juliette Bausor (Ensemble 360, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Flute) has thought as far outside the box for a partner work as Nielsen’s Flute Concerto of 1926 makes her recording instantly attention-worthy, and she and the Royal Northern Sinfonia have then cemented it with some very enjoyable performances.
The Mozart concerto comes first, played with absolute conviction. We still get the seemingly obligatory Andante in C and Rondo in D before we reach the Nielsen, which turns out to be a perfect foil to the Mozart’s warm, elegant exuberance. This later work allows the orchestra to display their harder edge but also at times to draw out unexpectedly Mozartian parallels, with Bausor herself commanding the performance with her range of colours and liquid virtuosity.
To be picky, it seems a shame not to have added still further to the adventurous coupling by looking beyond Mozart for the mid-programme fillers, but this is still an immensely refreshing offering.