Magic night of flutes with Sir James and Lady Jeanne

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Magic night of flutes with Sir James and Lady Jeanne


Sir James Galway and Lady Jeanne Galway, seen here in 2005 photo, performed with OSM on Wednesday.
Photograph by: JO HALE GETTY IMAGES FILE, Freelance
Wednesday night’s OSM concert featured not one but two magic flutes, as super flutist Sir James Galway appeared in duet with his wife, Lady Jeanne, in Domenico Cimarosa’s Concerto for Two Flutes.

Although Sir James took on the first flute part, Lady Jeanne held her own and at times excelled in the second flute part. It was hard telling the two apart as the timbres of their flutes blended well and they shared similar virtuosic approaches. Conductor Lawrence Foster provided fine support from the orchestra.

James Galway returned for Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1 (K. 313) instead of the previously announced Concerto No. 2 (K. 314). Mounting the podium, Galway conducted the intro with chopping motions from his right hand, almost catching the orchestra off guard. When he breathed life to his flute, the master musician came alive. Phrasing was expressive with rubatos stretched to jawdropping extremes.

Four encores greeted the enthusiastic crowd. Sir James paired with Lady Jeanne for an exciting duet of the Rondo Alla Turca from Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 11. Sir James returned solo for a traditional folk tune, a heartfelt rendition of Danny Boy before wowing the crowd with a virtuosic Badinerie from J. S. Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, all the while leading the orchestra. It was a command performance.

It fell to American Lawrence Foster to lead the OSM for the orchestral selections, beginning with Luigi Cherubini’s overture to the opera Anacréon, ou l’Amour fugitif. The most striking part of the performance was the sound Foster achieved from the orchestra: loud with overly articulated brass.

More of the same sound experience greeted audiences following the intermission in Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances, opus 48, a 45-minute work of eight folk dances. Unfortunately, many of the suites sounded alike, stretching out the evening.

Incidentally, this is OSM Competition week (this year dedicated to Woodwinds, Brass and Voice), and Foster will be on the jury of the final round, taking place on Saturday, Nov. 26, at McGill University’s Tanna Schulich Hall. Sir James also led a master class on Thursday.

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