Following recorded forays into the modern, with newly composed concertos by Dalbavie and Pintscher, and into the Baroque, with Bach’s complete flute sonatas, Emmanuel Pahud performs a programme of virtuoso operatic fantasies with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and its exciting young Canadian music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
Emmanuel Pahud’s ‘Night at the Opera’ features fantasies on Rigoletto by Franz (1821–83) and Karl (1825–1900) Doppler, Der Freischütz by Claude-Paul Taffanel (1844–1908), Die Zauberflöte by Robert Fobbes (b.1939), La traviata (for two flutes) by Emanuele Krakamp (1813–83) and Carmen by François Borne (1840–1920) in an orchestral arrangement by Raymond Meylan. We are also treated to Lensky’s aria from Eugene Onegin, arranged by Guy Braunstein, and familiar flute solos from opera, including the entr’acte from Bizet’s Carmen and Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Orfeo ed Euridice. Juliette Hurel, solo flute of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, joins Pahud in the works for two flutes. The digital bonus track is the Menuet from Bizet’s L’Arlésienne.
Stephen Johns, Vice President A&R, EMI Classics, says, “This recording showcases Emmanuel Pahud’s extraordinary technique and musicianship, while presenting familiar and beautiful tunes from the greatest operas.”
Pahud recently described the background to his latest album: “In the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a tradition of salon music because people did not have CD or MP3 players as we have nowadays. They had no access to the internet or the radio so they would have to have transcriptions in order to hear this music in their homes. While Mozart was writing his Magic Flute, there were already people who, when they were rehearsing it in the theatre, were writing down the music and arranging it for duets and quartets so they could play it, like a jukebox, at home. Then in the 19th century the music became more virtuosic, because the instruments had developed and, while there was Paganini on the violin and Liszt on the piano, there were people like Doppler, Boehm, Krakamp and Taffanel developing the flute and repertoire for the flute in various countries. And they wrote transcriptions and very virtuosic pieces with lots of notes in them for the new, improved flute made of metal and with keys.”
“All the pieces on this album have been transcribed or were written in a version for flute and piano in the 19th century, apart from two. One of these is Lensky’s aria, arranged as a fantasy for violin and piano by our Berlin Philharmonic concert master Guy Braunstein. As a present, he made a flute version of that transcription for me. I had the idea of adding it to this collection of opera favourites in an orchestration that reinstates the original sound of Tchaikovsky in the orchestra. The other piece that is more recent is the variations on Die Zauberflöte. I had to include The Magic Flute in this collection. But I did not know of any satisfying version until I discovered this one on a recording by a Belgian colleague. It turns out it had been composed for him by a friend as a birthday surprise.”
Emmanuel Pahud, one of today’s most exciting and adventurous musicians, demonstrates his mastery of and sympathy for music composed over nearly three centuries. Principal Flute of the Berliner Philharmoniker since the age of 22, with the exception of a year-and-a-half-long sabbatical, Pahud has also appeared as soloist with many of the world’s other leading orchestras under such conductors as Abbado, Rattle, Zinman, Maazel, Gergiev, Gardiner, Harding, Järvi, Pinnock, Jordan and the late Mstislav Rostropovich. As a recitalist, Pahud collaborates with Eric Le Sage, Yefim Bronfman and Hélène Grimaud and he performs jazz with Jacky Terrasson. Pahud appears regularly at the major festivals in Europe, North America and the Far East.
Since signing an exclusive solo recording contract with EMI Classics in 1996, Emmanuel Pahud has recorded a broad range of repertoire to wide critical acclaim. Sales of his CDs number in excess of 400,000 worldwide. His EMI discography is set to be one of the most significant contributions to recorded flute music. His most recent releases include the Bach Complete Sonatas, newly composed concertos by Dalbavie, Jarrell and Pintscher and the Nielsen Flute Concerto (and Wind Quintet) with the Berliner Philharmoniker/Simon Rattle. In October 2009, Pahud was named Instrumentalist of the Year (Flute) at the Echo Klassik awards for his Bach Flute Sonatas CD.
“Emmanuel Pahud, flautist supreme.” The Times