Brahms, Reinecke

COMPOSERS: Brahms,Reinecke
LABELS: EMI
ALBUM TITLE: Brahms , Reinecke
WORKS: Clarinet Sonatas, Op. 120 (arr. flute); Sonata, Op. 167 (Undine)
PERFORMER: Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Yefim Bronfman (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 373 7082
The success of this recording is due in no small part to the sensitive balancing of Brahms’s richly upholstered piano writing with the flute’s essentially gentle voice by producer Stephen Johns and engineer Paul Zinman. Without in any way robbing Yefim Bronfman’s glorious pianism of its Brahmsian depth and colour, Emmanuel Pahud’s exquisitely pure sound floats in and out of the music’s rolling textures as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Add to that just the right degree of ambient warmth in which to cocoon these autumnal scores, coupled with the flute’s natural tendency to sooth the senses whenever Brahms turns lyrical, and I doubt whether they have ever sounded more seductive.

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Carl Reinecke’s Undine Sonata is a flute original, a beguiling synthesis of Mendelssohnian enchantment and Schumannesque fantasy which gives the hapless pianist plenty to keep his fingers occupied. Yet such is Pahud’s ability to inflect his liquid phrases with myriad dynamic and tonal shadings that he beguiles the ear during even the most impassioned outbursts of prestidigitation. Julian Haylock