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Beethoven: Sonata No. 8 in G; Serenade, etc

Emmanuel Pahud (flute), et al (Warner Classics)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Sonata No. 8 in G, Op. 30/3 (arr. Pahud)*; Serenade in D, Op. 25†; Allegro and Minuet in G, WoO 26††; Trio Concertante in G, WoO 37*^
Emmanuel Pahud, ††Silvia Careddu (flute), ^Sophie Dervaux (bassoon), †Daishin Kashimoto (violin), †Amihai Grosz (viola), *Daniel Barenboim (piano)
Warner Classics 9029513974   77:34 mins


Beethoven didn’t write much chamber music for flute, but Emmanuel Pahud and an impressive team of colleagues here make lovely, lively work of what the great composer did produce for the instrument, not to mention something he didn’t: the G major Sonata Op. 30 No. 3, originally for violin but periodically co-opted by flautists almost ever since.

Pahud starts the disc with this, in his own arrangement, with Daniel Barenboim picking out clear, focused detail in the piano part. If you are familiar with the violin version you might miss the bite of bow on string in the outer movements, but otherwise Pahud’s range of tone colour ensures that nothing else registers as being lost, and the slow movement gains new atmosphere from the way the dark flute tone sets up a delicate play of light and shade with the piano.

The Serenade in D, Op. 25, is scored for a pragmatic trio of flute, violin and viola – all players who could stand up for an informal performance, perhaps taking place outdoors. Again, this is beautifully played, with Pahud joined by two Berlin Philharmonic colleagues, the violinist Daishin Kashimoto and violist Amihai Grosz, whose phrasing matches Pahud’s as if they, too, are producing the notes with their breath.

The Allegro and Minuet in G for flute duet is slender but delightful as played by Pahud and Silvia Careddu. And the teenage composer’s Trio Concertante in G, for which Pahud and Barenboim are joined by bassoonist Sophie Dervaux, emerges full of character and colour.


Erica Jeal