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Concerto for Flute and Harp
Orchestra Mozart, Claudio Abbado
What a delightful disc. Or should I not use that adjective? It is, after all, a fallback response to the hideous tie you get from your auntie at Christmas. How about: relaxing? Or invigorating? All these epithets apply to the two early concertante works that Abbado and his handpicked Orchestra Mozart give us here.
The performances seem to have been recorded during a tour (along with others in the same Mozart series): two venues are given for the Sinfonia Concertante, although whether the recordings are live is unclear. It doesn’t matter; the playing is exemplary and there is no discernible audience noise.
Notable contributions are made by all the soloists. In the Sinfonia Concertante I was most taken with the clarinet of Alessandro Carbonare and the oboe of Lucas Macías Navarro, both musicians characterful and wonderfully accurate. In the Concerto for Flute and Harp the two soloists play as one, and flautist Jacques Zoon’s silvery tone is beautifully caught in the airy acoustic of the Haydn Auditorium in Bolzano. It is a tone we know well: Zoon was first flute of the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Chailly, the Berlin Philharmonic under Abbado, then the Boston Symphony.
Abbado sets perfect tempos. He does not draw the music out but neither does he rush like some who sacrifice joie de vivre in a quest for brilliance. The engineers might have set the soloists back more in the Sinfonia, but the immediacy of the sound amply reveals the tightness of this fine ensemble.