Emmanuel Pahud – Beethoven – Works for Flute (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:17:26 minutes | 1,42 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Warner Classics

Warner Classics’ final release for Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year is a charming programme of chamber music with flute. The four works, all dating from the earlier years of the composer’s career, were recorded in June 2020 in Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal by a distinguished group of musicians led by Daniel Barenboim, here in his role as pianist, and flautist Emmanuel Pahud.

Joining them are two of Pahud’s colleagues from the Berliner Philharmoniker, the orchestra’s First Concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto and its Principal Viola, Amihai Grosz, and two players with links to the Wiener Philharmoniker, its Principal Bassoon Sophie Dervaux, and Silvia Careddu, formerly its Principal Flute.

First of all, what a line-up of Berlin’s top musicians and regular collaborators Emmanuel Pahud has assembled here: Daniel Barenboim on piano; Pahud’s fellow Berlin Philharmonic principals, concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto and violist Amihai Grosz; flautist Silvia Careddu, founder member of the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien; and Sophie Dervaux, former Berlin Philharmonic Principal Contrabassoon and now Principal Bassoon of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Vienna Philharmonic. Plus, they’ve recorded in Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal, i.e. one of the best possible places to hear chamber music, with its stunning combination of warmth and clarity.

Moving on to the musical contents, and Beethoven’s slim body of chamber works for flute is all confined to his early career. In fact so early that two of the works here date from his Bonn period (during his late teens and early twenties) as a piano teacher and court musician: the posthumously published Trio in G for piano, flute and bassoon of 1786, and the Allegro and Minuet in G WoO 26 for two flutes of 1792, written for his law student friend, J.M. Degenharth, and featuring a dedication page playfully informing the reader that it was written “in the evening”. Also on the menu is the Serenade in D Op. 25 for flute, violin and viola, sketched in 1797 and completed in 1801. What this means in stylistic and mood terms is sunnily charming entertainment music cast firmly in Beethoven’s earliest post-Haydn language, and far removed from the emotional turbulence of his later years; in other words, absolutely perfect music to be gifted with at the dog end of Covid-wrecked 2020, and especially when the playing from everyone is so joyously elegant, crisp, bright and responsive.

Still, Pahud clearly thought that a little more meat was required for the curtain raiser. So all the above is preceded by his own flute transcription of the “Little G Major” Sonata in G for violin and piano of 1802: still a sunnily carefree world, but equally a sparkingly sharp-witted one, piling on fresh interest at every turn. It also sits very well on the flute, so perhaps further transcriptions might come our way in the future via Pahud’s hand. In the meantime, from this one we can enjoy the dainty athletic pep and lucid textures Pahud and Barenboim bring to its outer movements, the lyric grace and sensitivity of their central Tempo di Menuetto, and overall Barenboim’s deft shaping, and in partnership terms their mutual sensitivity and sense of equality.

In short, a great addition to the Beethoven recordings catalogue. – Charlotte Gardner

Tracklist

1. Emmanuel Pahud – Violin Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Op 30 No. 3 in G Major: I. Allegro assai (Arr. Pahud for Flute & Piano)
2. Emmanuel Pahud – Violin Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30 No. 3: II. Tempo di Minuetto ma molto moderato e grazioso (Arr. Pahud for Flute & Piano)
3. Emmanuel Pahud – Violin Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30 No. 3 in G Major: III. Allegro vivace (Arr. Pahud for Flute & Piano)
4. Emmanuel Pahud – Serenade in D Major, Op. 25: I. Entrata. Allegro
5. Emmanuel Pahud – Serenade in D Major, Op. 25: II. Tempo ordinario d’un Menuetto
6. Emmanuel Pahud – Serenade in D Major, Op. 25: III. Allegro molto
7. Emmanuel Pahud – Serenade in D Major, Op. 25: IV. Andante con variazione
8. Emmanuel Pahud – Serenade in D Major, Op. 25: V. Allegro scherzando e vivace
9. Emmanuel Pahud – Serenade in D Major, Op. 25: VI. Adagio
10. Emmanuel Pahud – Serenade in D Major, Op. 25: VII. Allegro vivace disinvolto
11. Emmanuel Pahud – Duo for 2 Flutes in G Major, WoO 26: I. Allegro con brio
12. Emmanuel Pahud – Duo for 2 Flutes in G Major, WoO 26: II. Minuetto quasi allegretto
13. Emmanuel Pahud – Trio for Piano, Flute and Bassoon, WoO 37: I. Allegro
14. Emmanuel Pahud – Trio for Piano, Flute and Bassoon, WoO 37: II. Adagio
15. Emmanuel Pahud – Trio for Piano, Flute and Bassoon, WoO 37: III. Thema andante con variazioni

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