Arnold • Ibert • Nielsen
Nielsen: Flute Concerto; Ibert: Flute Concerto; M Arnold: Flute Concerto No. 1
Clara Andrada (flute); Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Jaime Martín
Ondine ODE 1340-2 51.54 mins
Three flute concertos in one gulp might strike some as hard to swallow, but if any flautist is going to make this musical offering slip down it is the Spanish-born Clara Andrada. For fluidity, nimble attack, breath control and range of colours she really takes some beating. Teamed with Spanish conductor Jaime Martín, a past flautist himself, she dazzles most brightly in the strongest by far of these 20th-century concertos: Nielsen’s mercurial creation of 1926, to which she bequeaths an entirely appropriate improvisatory feel. Wherever her flute goes, you want to follow, whether it’s pirouetting on high or battling incursions from a bass trombone. For a modestly-sized orchestra, the Frankfurt band is pushed rather too forward in the recording balance, but no one can ever brush Andrada aside.
The Ibert concerto, from the early 1930s, mixes sweet lyricism with slightly arduous French bustle. In either vein you wonder where on earth Andrada takes a breath. Malcolm Arnold’s 1954 concerto, compact, often jaunty, doesn’t end the album with a bang. But nor is the effect a whimper, and there’s always golden gamboling from a flautist of the top rank.