Dalbavie: Flute Concerto Emmanuel Pahud By Marc-André Dalbavie – Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Transir for Flute & Chamber Orchestra. Check out Dalbavie: Flute Concertos by Emmanuel Pahud on Amazon Music. Stream ad-free or purchase CD’s and MP3s now on Like other high-profile wind players, Emmanuel Pahud has sought to compensate for the dearth of pre concertos by commissioning contemporaries.
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Proms 2011: Marc-André Dalbavie & Elliott Carter – Flute Concertos (UK Première)
Despite first appearances, there are commonalities between the two works. Both eschew the contemporary practice of opting for descriptive names; the bald title Flute Concerto has connotations of its own, of course, but nonetheless suggests that deeply programmatic content is not the order of the day. To that end, both also place greatest importance on the surface of the music, inviting the listener first and foremost to place their focus on its undulations. But there the similarities end.
Proms Marc-André Dalbavie & Elliott Carter – Flute Concertos (UK Première) – |
Dalbavie seems intent on aiming the flute on a trajectory that seeks to reincarnate the Flight of the Bumblebee. There are positive aspects, insofar as the relationship between the flute and orchestra is sensitively handled, and the brief shadings of Honegger-esque harmony early on are nice.
But each and every time, barely after a few notes have been uttered, the nascent melody is quashed and everything twirls off somewhere else.
Rendered totally unable to fly, the flute ends up skittering around like a moth in an unpredictable wind, ultimately reduced to a demonstration of mere velocity and yet more spiralling scales and arpeggios that speak more of showing off than of virtuosity. His concerto is little more than a vacuous compositional exercise, the most cringe-making moment being when Dalbavie attempts a pastiche of impressionism, replete with octatonic scales: The texture bristles with the far-off presence of percussion woodblocks at first, rototoms laterand through the first half of the piece, the orchestra is allowed to project significantly but never seems terribly robust; an attempted coup around six minutes in is like a fanfare reduced to fragments.
They lumber around, moving forward in shuffles, and on the very rare occasions when they wrestle attention away from the flute, their gruff material fizzles quickly.
Carter seems content to leave ambiguous whether this kind of antagonism is malevolent or simply playful; either way, it makes little impact on the flute, apparently immune to all and any inroads from the orchestra, no matter how agitated they get.
Falbavie fact, as the work unfolds, the quizzical nature between the one and the many takes on an ecstatic quality, the flute continuing its endless melody in a quasi-mystical manner, ever quieter and more tranquil. A bit like swearing at a monk, the rudeness proves itself impotent, and the relationship evolves into dalbaviw rather uncanny. A beautiful and rather moving piece, it shows Carter to be as bold and impressively thought-provoking as ever.
Related Posted on July 29, by 5: I previously encountered his work on a program split with Kurtag!! I mean, really, how can this be? There was a quartet for piano, viola, bassoon, and trumpet, about which it was explained that the trumpet it muted throughout because — well, you know, it says to do so in his undergraduate orchestration book.
The trumpet was not muted, and there were no balance problems. There was also a large ensemble piece which was audibly a grab-bag of bits of Favourite Twentieth Century Classics a bit of the Ligeti Five Pieces here, a bit of that there.
So I was dimly amused when the dxlbavie on the Flute Concerto referred to audible similarities to previous works the only true fltue they made. Otherwise, my eyes rolled upwards at the vaguely Herrmannesque opening. Then the soloist plays some G-D-A-whatevers, echoed by the open strings in the violins — ah, spectralism — at which point I ceased listening.
And this drivel is being presented — by leading dalbavir and institutions, some of whom must surely know better — as important work by a leading composer? It really is insulting.
About Patrons The Lists List of compositions reviewed on 5: Contact Submitting music to 5: Posted on July flutd, by 5: Anonymous November 8, A belated note on the Dalbavie, which I only got around to recently, but I am compelled to share in your dismay.
Anonymous March 25, Thank you.
Dalbavie; Jarrell; Pintscher Flute Concertos |
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