I like Patrick Gallois's flute playing. And his 2004 Mozart Concertos recording for Naxos is particularly enjoyable. He plays a modern instrument (although it sounds like one made of wood rather than silver) but employs a quasi-period performance style - minimal vibrato, along with a liberal use of embellishments, and his own, original cadenzas (which are not at all "modern"). The music-making is fresh and charming, bursting forth with energy and joy. Tempos are alert, and Allegros are truly that. There are many individual touches along the way, which some may hear as mannerisms. I found them not at all bothersome, but on the contrary, hear them as spontaneous inflections. He plays with a vibrant tone and that "pillowy" (yet precise) articulation I just love. (I hear it from several modern-day flutists, including, notably, Emmanuel Pahud). Gallois conducts the Swedish Chamber Orchestra from the solo position in a 70-minute concert which includes both primary concertos and the double with harp. The orchestra plays with a delightful, light touch, airy textures, and crisp articulation. Naxos provides the recording on standard CD and also on multi-channel SACD. The sound is fabulous. This is one of my very favorite Mozart flute recordings.
His earlier, 1985 recording, reissued on this Saphir 2-fer, is a different story altogether. We get all three concertos, but spread out over 2 CDs with only the short Andante (K315) and Rondo (K184) added, totaling about 12 minutes of additional music. Thus it is a rather more expensive acquisition. But most notably different is that he plays what sounds like an authentic period flute (or a wooden reproduction). And the sound is immediately apparent. This flute sound has all the characteristics of such an instrument - a dead-pan, somewhat lifeless tone, very mellow and lacking sparkle. It sounds much more like a recorder than a flute. The French chamber ensemble, conducted by Emmanuel Krivine, lacks the incisiveness heard from the marvelous Swedish Chamber Orchestra in the remake, mirroring the lack of sparkle heard from the wooden flute. The over-warm, reverberant acoustic doesn't help matters.
So while on the face of it, having an "Integrale" collection of Mozart's music for flute and orchestra seems enticing, this collection on Saphir isn't terribly satisfactory. And at full price, it's not even good value. Go for Gallois's Naxos CD instead (or even better, the SACD if you can find it) and you'll gain infinitely better performances and sound and will only be missing out on the two inconsequential tidbits.
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