LABELS: Harmonia Mundi Les nouveaux musiciens
WORKS: Flute Sonata
PERFORMER: Mathieu Dufour (flute); Aleksandar Madzar (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: HMN 911770
It’s refreshing that, so early on in his solo recording career, Paris-born Mathieu Dufour has not gone down the obvious French repertoire route, but instead has taken on two of the 20th century’s most substantial flute sonatas, by Prokofiev and Hindemith.
Dufour – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s principal flute – displays an impressive tonal range in the Prokofiev, using a clear, vital tone suitable for the robust opening, yet he’s not afraid to adopt a huskier timbre to accentuate the sensuousness of the low-lying Andante. This Sonata demands a technical agility which Dufour meets without ever losing sight of the work’s majestic stance. But if you want a more showy, let-rip finale, then head for Emmanuel Pahud on EMI.
MartinuÞ’s Sonata, completed two years later (1945), is not as melodically inventive and requires greater tonal variation to hold our attention. Dufour seems thrown by this, with long exposed lines rather one-dimensionally given an aimless, wide vibrato.
All colour returns for the Hindemith. Dufour contrasts an exhilarating, direct execution of the extrovert outbursts with moments of sensitive introspection. Taking full advantage of the dance-like last movement, he rollicks into the neo-classical March bringing both Sonata and disc to a decisive close. Aleksandar Madzar is an impeccable partner throughout. Kate Sherriff