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Mozart: Flute Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Flute and Harp Concerto; Andante in C major

Rune Most, Sivan Magen; Odense Symphony Orchestra/Scott Yoo; Benjamin Shwartz (Bridge)

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Mozart Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major; Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major; Flute and Harp Concerto in C major; Andante in C major*
Rune Most (flute), Sivan Magen (harp); Odense Symphony Orchestra/Scott Yoo, *Benjamin Shwartz
Bridge 9502A/B   83:06 mins (2 discs)

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Mozart’s pair of flute concertos were written in 1777-78 for a wealthy Dutch merchant and flute-player. Several ideas and motifs can be traced between the works, which are increasingly viewed as a cycle, or at least a coherent collection, such as flautist Rune Most and the Odense Symphony Orchestra have presented them here.

Most plays a Howell Roberts wooden flute, whose mildly plangent tone may take some adjusting to. Though not strictly speaking a period instrument (it uses the Boehm system), its colours are closer to those known to Mozart. Most does not attempt to fully emulate post-Baroque/early Classical flautism, and his vibrato is over-lavish in places, particularly in the First Concerto. Conversely, the technique works well in the Concerto for Flute and Harp, where the flute’s tone reflects the strings’ timbre. Harpist Sivan Magen proves adept at the concertante lines, weaving with flute effortlessly into the melodic framework established by the orchestral winds, particularly in the second movement. In the first two concertos and the closing Andante (thought to be the middle movement of an intended third concerto), Most emphasises the beauty and shape of the writing. In his own cadenzas, he draws on emotional complexity rather than exuberance and fizz – sometimes to the detriment of the overall effect.

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Claire Jackson