S&H Recital review
Kathryn Thomas & Richard Shaw: French Flute
Recital, PR, 21 June, 2001 (MB)
Kathryn Thomas has now established herself as one of Britain's foremost young flautists - and this recital was an ideal showcase for her talents as chanteuse and virtuoso. The beauty of tone and phrasing - clearly evident in her recent recording of Gaubert flute pieces - was as impeccable as ever. Notes were meticulously placed (even in the wonderful Boulez Sonatine) and the Debussy Bilitis showed Ms Thomas' ability to spin a web of impressionistic textures that almost hypnotised her audience. It was quite audacious in the purity of its delivery.
If both the Roussel and Gaubert were perhaps a little reserved, her Boulez was a stunning achievement. The rapidity of the dynamics were carved from ice so streamlined was the phrasing - yet there was plenty of room for wit and elegance. If the slow movement of the Gaubert had shown her breath control to appear less than seamless (at times it sounded intrusive) it was a performance which almost rescued the work from obscurity. Alexandre Delgado's The Panic Flirt was rumbustiously played, the improvisatory whispers and chants more refined than I have previously heard in this work.
A problem throughout this recital was the refusal of both Ms Thomas and Mr Shaw to interact between each other. There was little interplay between the two (I don't think they actually looked at each other once whilst playing) the result being you would spend more time concentrating on one artist at the expense of the other - often to the detriment of the music. This will probably be rectified in the near future - but they could both do with watching Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis in recital to see how musical interaction works at the highest level.
Despite this, the music making was of a high enough order to produce an enjoyable evening.
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