Notes and Editorial Reviews
Mario Carbotta (fl);
Carlo Balzaretti (pn);
Marco Bianchi (vn);
Alice Bisanti (va);
Guido Fichtner (gtr)
TACTUS 780301 (53:15)
“A beautiful sound is of interest only to other flutists.” This quote from the great flutist and professor Marcel Moyse always struck me as absolutely brilliant. It helped me get a grip on reality for the years I strove to acquire the cleanest flute tone, one that would mean liquid music to my audiences, one with no hint of air, no breathy undertones, and as little vibrato as possible: just pure, unadulterated flute soul. This had become almost an obsession. Moyse`s opinion rocked my world.
Okay, so you get a beautiful tone. Then what? Ten minutes into the recital, the audience’s ear is already used to the quality of the performer’s tone (be it good or bad) and will need more. What ultimately matters is what one can do with the sound extracted from the instrument. This train of thought made its way into my head again because I listened to two recordings where, although the soloist’s tone itself was not quite what I would fall in love with, the musical qualities quickly overcame the first slightly uncomfortable impact. The first was Rachel Podger’s fifth volume of Mozart sonatas; the second was the present CD, featuring the music of Vincenzo Colla, an unknown composer of the late 18th century.
Colla was born in the Italian town of Piacenza, and worked in the civic theater at Voghera, then at Milan, and finally in Trieste, where he died. This
displays his complete works for flute, which are aptly described in Mariateresa Dellaborra’s elucidative liner notes: “If the composer does not achieve towering heights of introspection and elaboration, he nonetheless reveals an assured ability, tied to an elegance in the expression of his ideas.” Quite so. The music is simple, but very lively and certainly fun to play. The fact that this last characteristic is immediately perceivable, speaks much on the interpreters’ behalf. This excellent group of Italian musicians performs with flair and guts, unafraid to extract massive doses of lyricism (and at times, humor) from the material, taking welcome liberties with tempo and dynamics. Carlo Balzaretti infuses the piano part with flexibility and color and both string-players add warmth and interest to the work they take part in.
The flutist here is Mario Carbotta—and his sound is a bit edgy, with more vibrato than I feel is necessary (to my taste, vibrato should be added as coloring, not as an inextricable ubiquitous part of the tone). The guitarist, Guido Fichtner, does not represent my ideal conception of sound either. In the beginning, I confess, I was a bit bothered by the quality of their tones. But not for long. Carbotta and his partners play with enough élan and real empathy for the music to make up for any misgivings I might have had about the flute or guitar timbres. The ensemble-playing is fine, tight and competent. There is a high charge of electricity here, and the interpreters make a convincing case for the works they play. As good Italians, they clearly perceive the corniness in some of the writing, and instead of trying to hide it, they milk it all the way, taking complete advantage of every drop of sentimentality, at the same time sparing us any excess of seriousness. All the gestures are broad and passionate, and end up giving this music a new freshness that effectively sells it to the listeners.
The chosen repertoire helps. Who would not be teased into hearing the music of a composer who is so little known that not even
The New Grove Dictionary
carries a single word about the man? Recommended to all flutists, and to anyone who does not nurture a prejudice against Hausmusik.
FANFARE: Laura Rónai
Works on This Recording
Duo for Flute and Guitar by Vincenzo Colla
Guido Fichtner (Guitar),
Mario Carbotta (Flute)
Written: 1808; Italy
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