- The Magic Flute Dances, concerto for flute & orchestra
The promised British flute concertos are in somewhat short supply on this Chandos release, with only "The Magic Flute Dances" of contemporary composer Jonathan Dove and the "Flute Concerto, Op. 36," of Lennox Berkeley starting life as such a thing. The Poulenc work included is not, of course, British at all, but was arranged by Berkeley for flute and orchestra from a sonata for flute and piano, and the William Alwyn work, although titled "Concerto," was originally for the unusual ensemble of flute and eight wind instruments. It's hard to see what was gained by turning it into a flute-and-orchestra concerto; the version here occupies an uncomfortable space between the original (a lot of the wind writing is kept) and a full-orchestra piece. As for Poulenc, his presence mostly just illustrates his melodic fecundity compared with his British followers. Positives include the agile playing of Welsh flutist Emily Beynon, the clean work of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and most of all the Dove work, which was composed in 1999. As the title suggests, it is built on motives from Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute," but it's far more than a travelog through the opera's famous themes. Instead Dove takes off from the idea of an evocative forest flute in the opera itself, imbuing the work with threads of small Mozart motives that enter different surroundings. It's a light piece but an utterly charming one, and here's hoping it gets further play; it certainly adds general interest to an album mostly aimed at the British music hardcore.