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Blair Sanderson, June 2008

Mozart’s youthful Flute Concertos, K. 313 and K. 314, and the Concerto for flute, harp, and orchestra, K. 299, may not be obvious choices for a sonic spectacular, but flutist and conductor Patrick Gallois finds enough bright and colorful sonorities in these works to make this recording an audiophile’s delight. There is no indication that Gallois or the Swedish Chamber Orchestra use period instruments, yet this almost does not matter in their tasteful performances, which seem in all other respects to observe Classical practices, right down to including a harpsichord continuo. The orchestra is expressive and vibrant, and though it lacks the aural sheen that many authentic performances offer, it plays cleanly and with sufficient delicacy and allows the flute its necessary space. As soloist, Gallois keeps his tone in check, perhaps to simulate the more intimate sound of an early flute, and provides his own lively and sensitive cadenzas in K. 313 and K. 314. Also, he collaborates with harpist Fabrice Pierre to produce charming cadenzas full of fanciful repartee in K. 299. This recording was released by Naxos in both standard CD and hybrid SACD formats, with exceptional sound.

Peter Wells
MusicWeb International, August 2005

So what’s so good about it? Well, speaking as one who has never had much liking for the modern flute, much preferring the warmer sound of historic wooden flutes, the most striking thing, noticeable immediately on the flute’s first entry in track one, is the tremendous focus and sheer beauty of Gallois’s sound. Too often the metal flute takes on a reedy, almost clarinet-like timbre, combined with an ever-present continuous vibrato. Patrick Gallois prefers a much more supple type of sound which is distinguished by clarity coupled with a wonderful flexibility. It is this aspect of flexibility of timbre that works so well in the semi-improvised world of the concerto. It makes all of the ornamentation—of which Gallois uses a considerable amount, much of it quite extravagantly decorative—seem logical and appropriate. He also has the measure of the delicacy required in Mozart’s works for flute. Given that the composer allegedly had little liking for the flute and wrote for it only on commission, it is remarkable that he managed to produce music of such seemingly effortless charm. It cannot be said that these concertos are deep works (with the exception of the slow movement of K299) so the aspect of charm and delicacy becomes very important. In the slow movements Gallois draws out the phrases with a languid approach without ever veering towards wallowing. In the fast movements the aforementioned ornamentation brings sparkle and wit as well as virtuosity.

The Swedish Chamber Orchestra plays with verve and commendable precision, directed either from the flute by Gallois, or from the violins by their concertmaster Katarina Andreasson. The lessons of the period instrument groups have been well learned by this group of Swedes and the balance between soloists and strings is excellent, the continuo harpsichord having a prominent and useful role—difficult to achieve with modern strings. The band is laid out with violins on opposite sides of the stereo spectrum and the recording quality is excellent throughout. © 2005 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Hurwitz, November 2003

I have no hesitation in declaring this to be the finest recording of Mozart’s flute concertos currently available, and believe me, I’ve suffered through most of them. It has everything: a first rate soloist, a marvelous orchestra obviously mindful of period practice but playing modern instruments, an intelligently added harpsichord continuo (especially wonderful as a foil to the timbre of the harp), and boundless enthusiasm from all concerned. It’s captured by Naxos in excellently balanced, warm, pellucidly clear sound. All it takes is about 10 seconds’ listening to any single movement in any of these three works to make the outstanding quality of the musicianship self evident. The Swedish Chamber Orchestra launches the opening Allegro aperto of the Second Concerto (wisely placed first on the disc) with infectious rhythmic drive, and from the moment of Patrick Gallois’ joyous, chirping entrance the performance flies by like a force of nature. © 2003 Read complete review

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