Swiss flautist Emmanuel Pahud’s relationship with the Australian Chamber Orchestra stretches back 14 years, since his Australian debut performing the premiere of Carl Vine’s Pipe Dreamswith the orchestra in 2003. He would return a few years later to tour and record Vivaldi’s Flute Concertos. He began this concert on stage alone, however, kicking off a programme that swung from intimate solo works to dramatic ensemble pieces, with CPE Bach’s unaccompanied Flute Sonata in A Minor, Wq. 132.
Pahud is a powerful player, and he brought a rich, muscular low register to the bass notes of Carl Philipp Emanuel’s work, which imply a harmonic structure more complex than is normally presented by a single-line instrument. With a deft, subtle vibrato and plenty of freedom – not to mention a gloriously full tone – Pahud used colour to delineate the distinct lines, playing with utter conviction and personality. The second movement was bright and lively while the third danced, Pahud pushing his sound to the exciting knife-edge just short of cracking in the loud moments, offsetting this with delicate pianissimo sighs.
Emmanuel Pahud and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Photo © Zan Wimberley