Galway protege, Raffaele Trevisani, plays beautiful Mozart in the biggest gymnasium Delos could find.
Ok...it's not really recorded in a gymnasium. It just sounds that way (more on this below). More importantly, this is lovely Mozart from beginning to end. It's rather old-fashioned, in a warm, Romantic way, with moderate tempos. But smiling and lively too. And here's the deal...if you think Raffaele Trevisani sounds JUST like James Galway, you're right. He does. Trevisani was a student of Galway's. And I've heard it said (and have witnessed it firsthand a few times myself back in the day) that any flutist who spends time with Galway (even for just a one-off master class), comes away with his distinctive tone. I sure wish they'd share the secret!
There is a problem here, though. And it's not that Trevisani sounds just like Galway. In my book, that's actually a positive. And it's what drew me to this particular flutist in a world where one flutist tends to sound pretty much like every other. No, the problem here is the outrageously over-reverberant acoustic. Delos for some reason has chosen the biggest, swampiest, churchiest church to record this intimate music, and then did nothing to mitigate the reverberation. Even on a very highly detailed stereo system such as mine, the acoustic reverberation swamps the music-making in a very distracting way. And it's a real pity, because the playing has all the ingredients to be charming and smiling. This would be a glorious venue for recording an a cappella choral group in some ethereal, 20th Century repertoire. But for lively Mozart chamber music - not so much. On the plus side, the flute is spotlit in front of the strings, so that radiant Galway-esque tone shines through. But it leaves the string trio wallowing in the reverb. This so easily could/should have corrected by the recording engineer with a simple adjustment of the microphones.
Returning to my favorite recording of these glorious quartets - from Oxalys on the Fuga Libera label - I'm rewarded instantly with a breath of fresh air. It's fresher, lighter, airier, much clearer, and positively bubbles with charm, energy and life-affirming joy.
I really like this flutist and have ordered his discs of Mozart and Mercadante concertos. I'm currently listening to his Delos disc, "New Century Flute Concertos", which contains some interesting music (and one masterpiece). It's also well recorded. He is a very musical, insightful player and I absolutely love his sound. Compared to Galway, Trevisani's sound isn't quite as thick, his vibrato is not quite as wide and heavy, and mercifully he does not honk the low notes like his teacher loves to do. So I actually prefer his sound to Galway - at least in Mozart. But I sure hope he has better recording engineers in other discs. Delos is a label we don't see much of any more. But sadly they really made a mess of this one from 2014.