LABELS: RCA Red Seal
WORKS: Flute Concerto No. 7 in E minor; Flute Concerto No. 8 in G
PERFORMER: James Galway, Jeanne Galway (flute); London Mozart Players
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 63701 2
It comes as no surprise that, a year after Rampal’s death, James Galway should dedicate a disc to him. After all, Galway has always cited the Frenchman as his true mentor – and it was with Rampal that Galway first spied a golden flute. The recording actually happened over a year before Rampal died but appropriately enough contains concertos by the French Classical composer François Devienne, of whose music Rampal was a noted interpreter.
Although not as sophisticated as Mozart’s flute concertos, Devienne’s Nos 7 and 8 are entertaining. Galway takes full advantage of their singing melodies, striking a triumphant attitude with his shrill tone. This works best with No. 8, but the opening Allegro of No. 7 sounds more like an excited finale than an enticing introduction. For pure Classicists, Galway’s slow movements will seem too voluptuous and the catchy last-movement themes too sturdy. But the London Mozart Players have a cheeky lightness about them, bringing each concerto to a convincing close.
It’s as if Cimarosa’s Concerto for Two Flutes was made for Galway and his wife Jeanne. Breathing as one, they egg each other on into effervescent passages of pure joy. Cimarosa composed the Concerto at the peak of his career and the Galways exude his sense of celebration. Kate Sherriff