Mozart & Nielsen
Juliette Bausor, flute
Royal Northern Sinfonia
Jaime Martin, conductor
Signum Classics, 2016
This nice album collecting the flute concertos composed by Mozart and Nielsen is the debut concerto recording of an excellent flautist, Juliette Bausor. Bausor has collaborated with many prestigious orchestras in the last years: she was the principal flute of the London Mozart Players and has been principal flute of the Royal Northern Sinfonia for eleven years and held the same position in the London Philharmonic Orchestra from July 2016. She is also member of the chamber group Ensemble 360.
In her first recording, Bausor performs some of the most important works of the flute repertoire, the Flute Concertos by Mozart and Nielsen together with two other short pieces by the Austrian composer.
Mozart wrote his Flute Concerto no. 1 in G major, K. 313, in 1778 while living in Mannheim. This is one of many works (among concerti and quartets) commissioned by a wealthy Dutch flautist and physician employed in the Dutch East India Company, Ferdinand Dejean.
The other short pieces by Mozart are an Andante and Rondo for flute and orchestra. The Andante in C major, K. 315, was written in 1777 or in 1779, maybe as an alternative slow movement for the Flute Concerto, even if this is uncertain. It is particularly interesting because it anticipates in many regards Die Zauberflöte, composed more than ten years later. The Rondo in C major, K. 373, which was originally composed for violin and orchestra, is a lively and brilliant composition written in 1781, shortly before Mozart left his native Salzburg forever.
The last work of the album is Carl Nielsen’s Flute Concerto and at first sight it makes a contrast with the previous compositions and their eighteenth-century atmosphere, but it is very closed to them from the point of view of inspiration, since Nielsen wrote some of his works after hearing a rehearsal of Mozart’s music performed by the Copenhagen Wind Quintet. The Flute Concerto was composed in 1926 for Holger Gilbert-Hespersen, flautist of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet to which Nielsen promised to write a composition for each of its members. This is Nielsen first work for the Quintet, but he was able to complete only another one of the five promised (the Clarinet Concerto, completed in 1928) before his death. The Flute Concerto was performed for the first time in Paris in the same year of the composition with a temporary ending, which Nielsen replaced for the Copenhagen debut at the beginning of 1927.
The composer himself made some observations about the concerto, especially about the second movement, that he considered a little nasty «in some notes cast forth by the orchestra, but the atmosphere quickly relaxes again, and, when the solo flute enters, it does so with childish innocence».
This recording is a nice introduction to Juliette Bausor’s style and technique. She demonstrates to be an accomplished flautist and her sweet and fluid execution allows her to stress without difficulty the charm and delicacy of Mozart’s works. The concerto is a lovely and refined piece, but I think that she is even better in the Rondo, where she plays her instrument with vivacity and enthusiasm. Bausor plays Nielsen’s concert, on the other hand, connoting it with an intense and mysterious sound, to the point that this work seems to tell an adventurous story.
Mention of honour for the marvellous Royal Northern Sinfonia conducted by Jaime Martin, which adds its brilliant colours to those of the solo instrument and actively collaborates to make this a delightful recording.