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Françaix • Nielsen • Verhey: Flute Concertos

Joséphine Olech (flute); Odense Symphony Orchestra/Anna Skryleva (Orchid Classics)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
ORC100169_Nielsen

Françaix • Nielsen • Verhey
Françaix: Flute Concerto; Nielsen: Flute Concerto; Verhey: Flute Concerto No. 1
Joséphine Olech (flute); Odense Symphony Orchestra/Anna Skryleva
Orchid Classics ORC100169   58:16 mins

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In 2019, Joséphine Olech gave a First Prize performance of Carl Nielsen’s Concerto, a cornerstone of 20th-century flute repertoire, at the Carl Nielsen International Competition. The Odense Symphony Orchestra, having collaborated with Olech in the finals, reprise their role for this studio recording.

In the first movement, the flute’s pastoral solo is expertly delineated by Olech. There are sinister snatches of rumbling percussion and flurrying woodwind, but lyricism prevails. Unfortunately the latter part of Olech’s first cadenza is barely audible; subsequent solos fare better but the overall clarity could be much improved. The varied second movement is a riot of colour, ending in a dazzling display of rippling phrases – and some pleasingly eccentric trombone glissandos.

Olech has been principal flute of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra since 2017 – hence the inclusion of Dutch composer Theodoor Verhey’s little-known First Concerto. This follows the early 20th-century French style, with echoes of Cécile Chaminade’s frothy tunes and sweeping structure. Franco-flautist Olech revels in the heavily ornamented, fast-paced frivolity here and in the following longer concerto by Jean Françaix.

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Claire Jackson