Recording the Mozart Flute Concertos is a bold move. Every professional flutist knows these works and they are the most commonly requested concerto for any professional orchestral audition. Likewise, they have been recorded superbly many times. Rampal and Nicolet gave us classic recordings in the 1960s. Jump forward to 2002 and Patrick Gallois pushes the line further with extensive improvisations and ornaments. Much more recently Sharon Bezaly and Emmanuel Pahud have released interpretations that are polished and sparkle with technique. Ana de la Vega clearly loves these works and this passion shines through in her natural sounding debut recoding.
Born in country Australia to Argentinian and British parents Ana de le Vega’s story is interesting. Captivated by the sound of the flute heard on the radio while a child she decides to learn to play the flute. Eventually studies at the University of Sydney follow before she travels to Paris (with no French language skills), convinces Raymond Guiot to come out of retirement to teach her, and successfully auditions for the Paris Conservatoire. It seems that at every step de la Vega falls on her feet but I suspect that an enormous amount of hard work has led to a professional career with the Orquestra Sinfonica do Norte in Portugal, establishing the London International Players Symphony and this debut recording.
De la Vega’s recordings of the Mozart concertos show a formidable technique. Her articulation is crystal clear and her tone sounds effortless and pure. The cadenzas dazzle and her tempo choices allow for energy and forward drive without sounding mechanical or contrived. The recordings are certainly not over produced, we can still hear her breath and the dynamic variation between the flutes low and high register is still present. It sounds like a real performance.
Including the Josef Mispickel flute concerto on the same disc may well inspire many more performances of this little-known work. This Czech composer lived from 1737 to 1781 and was a friend of the Mozart family. Mozart described his character as “full of fire, spirit and life.” The concerto itself is worthy of a life of its own. The similarities in style mean it works in very complimentary way with the Mozart works whilst still providing some new repertoire to listen to. Australian classical music lovers should feel proud of Ana de la Vega’s achievements and I certainly look forward to future recordings from her.
Ana de la Vega talks about the recording: