The striking women on the cover is the London Philharmonic's new star principal flute, Juliette Bausor.
London and Paris trained, Bausor is but one of a long list of wonderful young players filling important posts worldwide. Bausor follows in the footsteps of some wonderful long retired LPO principals like Richard Adeney and Jonathan Snowden, both of whom recorded superb Mozart Concertos, much like the fabulous Mozart heard here on Bausor's new Signum Records release.
Coupled with the Mozart G Major Concerto (and his lesser known works for flute, the Andante in C and Rondo in D), is the problematic child of 'modern' flute concertos, the eccentric and enigmatic Flute Concerto (1926) of Carl Nielsen.
Beginning with the Mozart, Bausor sets out her stall -- unwavering musicality, effortless technique, and sparkling tone. A truly magical performance. Her articulation literally makes the music dance, her trills are trills, meaning they excite the rhythm and the phrase, not soporific and asking for forgiveness like many players.
Tempos are judged beautiully -- nothing seems rushed or manic yet the rhythms are buoyant and fit the music perfectly. I only wish Bausor would have added the D Major Concerto, too.
As in the Nielsen (a fiendish concerto to conduct), Bausor gets wonderful accompaniment from her previous orchestra, Newcastle's Royal Northern Sinfonia and conductor Jaime Martin. Martin, equally adept at fluting as well as conducting, is akin to Bausor's every musical whim.
To the problem child, Bausor sorts the kid out with the many Tempo and style changes, guiding smoothly (but with great drama) from one inspired section to another. Mozart, it's not!
The orchestral parts are as difficult to play as the solo part. Imagine the poor bass trombone thinking how easy his morning was going to be accompanying a flute concerto, then faced with the monstrous solo part Nielsen provides?
Nielsen was pals with the members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet and intended to write a concerto for each of them. He got as far as a superb wind quintet, a magnificent clarinet concerto, and the Flute Concerto.
It may be a difficult child, but as flute players, it's our child. It's weird and wonderful and does not get a better performance on record than by the brilliant Bausor.
The recording, I'm assuming at the orchestra's wonderful home of The Gateshead, is splendid. It imbues Bausor's faultless performances with light and grace.
As a coupling, you won't find better on record, but even taken individually, you'd be hard pressed to find better. Very highly recommended.