After completing my comprehensive survey of Mozart's Flute Quartets earlier this year, I've been listening to a few recordings of his Flute Concertos lately. I rediscovered how much I enjoyed Patrick Gallois's 2002 Naxos recording of all three [#1 in G, #2 in D and the Double with Harp]. (See my review elsewhere on this blog.) His Mozart is uniquely fresh and filled with originality and spontaneity. I wish he had recorded the Quartets.
A flutist who has is Raffaele Trevisani (2015 Delos). His recording made it to the "Good" category in my survey, but would have been much higher had it not been spoiled by being performed in an enormous, empty church, in which the Delos engineers failed to control the wildly over-reverberant acoustic. Such a pity.
I've since discovered Trevisani's 1998 recording of the three Concertos for Hanssler Classics (reissued on a 2005 budget CD). He has a glorious, uplifting feel for Mozart, amply displayed in both his Mozart recordings. There is a stylish freshness, with alert tempos and crisp articulation, plus an infectious sense of joy. However, in the Concertos, recorded nearly 20 years before the Quartets, Trevisani was intent upon showing off his "Galway Sound". Yes, he was a Galway protege, and yes, he sounds just like him. He even tends to honk his low notes just like Galway loves to do. Unfortunately, in 1998 Trevisani couldn't (wouldn't) contain that mega vibrato that comes with that golden tone. And it permeates every note, every phrase, every where. It's not all bad; it does add a delicious golden glow to his playing in the Allegros. But the problem is that he doesn't tone it down for the slow movements. Quite the contrary; he actually seems to turn up the power of it, and it mercilessly weighs down the music with an overbearing, unrelenting intensity. His sound is positively voluptuous, which is just too much for Mozart. Fortunately, by 2015, he had lightened up a bit, eased up on the vibrato a notch, and his playing is quite lovely in the Quartets. He still sounds like Galway, but in a more appropriate way for Mozart.
Trevisani is a fabulous player and the fast movements of the Concertos are delightful. Significantly, he plays cadenzas which are substantially different from the norm (composed by Edwin Roxburgh [G major]; Johannes Donjon [D major]; and Karl Hermann Pillney [Double]). And how enjoyable they are.
The recorded sound is excellent, as is the alert, crisp orchestral support under the direction of Patrick Strub. The 2005 budget reissue (which I have) is a bare-bones affair, attractive enough, the booklet containing nothing more than a simple track listing and recording details.