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James Galway - My Magic Flute


Release Date: 09/12/2006 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000714802   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartDavid Overton
Performer:  Catrin FinchJames GalwayJeanne Galway
Conductor:  James Galway
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Music for Pleasure" from the most famous flutist in the world.

James Galway – Sir James today – is without doubt the most famous flautist in the world and has been for almost three decades. It was in 1965 that he left his post as principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra to pursue a solo career. I happened to hear him the following year in Dubrovnik, when he was still fairly unknown. I was immediately enchanted by his golden tone and fabulous technique, qualities that he has retained and that are in evidence on the present disc. I have a feeling though that he has to work harder today to produce the tone and it is not always as spotlessly golden as it once was. The characteristic “romantic” vibrato
Read more is still there and this is something that some of his detractors have zeroed in on, especially in baroque and classicist repertoire. I am not that puritanical and I greatly admired his playing of the B minor suite by Bach back in 1976. Hearing him in the concerto for flute and harp, with the young Welsh harpist Catrin Finch playing just as well as Marisa Robles did in two earlier versions with Galway, he has softened a bit. Yet this is still a worthy account of this often played and recorded work where the slow movement is one of those desert island pieces. In the last resort I prefer the leaner playing of Liza Beznosiuk on a well-nigh twenty-year-old recording with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music on period instruments. Non-specialists will probably be just as satisfied with the plusher sonorities on this well engineered disc.

Catrin Finch also appears in two of the arrangements. The first is the Andante movement from piano concerto No. 21, made famous almost forty years ago through Bo Widerberg’s film Elvira Madigan. The arrangement is agreeable enough and will make perfect background music of the kind that is fully listenable when the conversation partner becomes too dull. More interesting and full of life is the Andante grazioso from the piano sonata in A major, which actually sounds like an original composition. In the Zaide aria with its atmospheric orchestral accompaniment, Sir James’s flute sings deliciously. This lullaby is another nice example of light music expertly played. Knowing the original one still misses the soprano voice with its wider dynamic scope.

For Sir James and Lady Jeanne, David Overton has concocted a three movement suite of Mozart themes. These are skilfully woven together and consist of a great number of melodies, sometimes only a few bars before the next snippet appears. Since the title is The Magic Flutes there are recurring references to Die Zauberflöte, but the whole work (the full composition has a fourth movement) is littered with tunes from all strands of Mozart’s oeuvre. It should be a nice basis for a musical quiz when some knowledgeable friends gather around a hot stew and a cask of red wine. The playing is beyond reproach and the whole is greatly entertaining.

David Overton has also arranged the final movement from the A major sonata, the well-known Rondo alla turca, as a kind of encore piece for the Galways. Not long ago I reviewed a disc where this and other Mozart pieces were arranged for mandolin and guitar. Christian Zacharias recorded the full sonata with a tambourine added for the final pages. Mozart might have approved of them all, as long as they were well played.

Galway has the double task of playing and conducting but the Sinfonia Varsovia, which first came to notice, I believe, through their collaboration with Yehudi Menuhin, are well versed is this kind of repertoire and could manage perfectly on their own.

Well-filled, well-played and with good liner notes by Nick Kimberley this is a disc that should attract many music-lovers. It may not be an essential buy but it is definitely “Music for Pleasure” – and shouldn’t music always be so?

-- Göran Forsling, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Flute and Harp in C major, K 299 (297c) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Catrin Finch (Harp), James Galway (Flute)
Conductor:  James Galway
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: Classical 
Written: 1778; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 01/2006 
Venue:  Lutoslawski Studio, Polish Radio, Warsaw 
Length: 29 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: James Galway performs cadenza by Carl Reinecke. 
2. Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467: 2nd movement, Andante by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Galway (Flute)
Conductor:  James Galway
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/2006 
Venue:  Lutoslawski Studio, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 6 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Andreas N. Tarkmann. 
3. Sonata for Piano no 11 in A major, K 331 (300i): 1st movement, Andante grazioso by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Galway (Flute)
Conductor:  James Galway
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781-1783; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/2006 
Venue:  Lutoslawski Studio, Polish Radio, Warsaw 
Length: 6 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Andreas N. Tarkmann. 
4. Zaide, K 344 (336b): Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  James Galway (Flute)
Conductor:  James Galway
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: Classical 
Written: 1780; Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/2006 
Venue:  Lutoslawski Studio, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 5 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Matthias Spindler. 
5. Sonata for Piano no 11 in A major, K 331 (300i): 3rd movement, Rondo alla turca by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Jeanne Galway (Flute), James Galway (Flute)
Conductor:  James Galway
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781-1783; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/12/2006 
Venue:  Lutoslawski Studio, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: David Overton. 
6. The Magic Flutes by David Overton
Performer:  James Galway (Flute), Jeanne Galway (Flute)
Conductor:  James Galway
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sinfonia Varsovia
Date of Recording: 01/2006 
Venue:  Lutoslawski Studio, Warsaw, Poland 
Length: 22 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: David Overton.
This piece is formed out of various Mozart's works. 

Sound Samples

Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C, K.299: 1. Allegro - Cadenza by Carl Reinecke
Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C, K.299: 2. Andantino - Cadenza by John Thomas
Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra in C, K.299: 3. Rondo (Allegro) - Cadenza by Carl Reinecke
Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K.467 - Arranged by Andreas Tarkmann: 2. Andante
Piano Sonata No.11 in A, K.331 -"Alla Turca" - Arranged by Andreas Tarkmann: Theme and Variations
Zaide, K.344 - Arranged for Flute and Orchestra: "Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben" (Tempo di Menuetto grazioso)
The Magic Flutes: Adagio - Allegro con brio
The Magic Flutes: Minuet
The Magic Flutes: Allegro
Piano Sonata No.11 in A, K.331 -"Alla Turca" - Arranged by David Overton: Rondo alla Turca

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