How did the Utah Symphony follow up last weekend's opening gala featuring three world-class soloists? By inviting one world-class soloist to play three diverse works.
Emmanuel Pahud, who was named principal flutist in the Berlin Philharmonic at the astonishing age of 22 (he's now 43), is arguably the top flutist in the world right now. In fact, it's difficult to argue with Utah Symphony music director Thierry Fischer's billing of him as the top soloist on any instrument. Pahud possesses not only a phenomenal technique, but an equally phenomenal musicality.
The flutist began with Elliott Carter's Flute Concerto, which Pahud himself premiered. Like most of Carter's work, it's a bit thorny, but don't be afraid — it comes off much better live than in recording. Fischer and the orchestra provided sensitive accompaniment to Pahud's artistry. Next came the flutist's arrangement of Lenski's aria from Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" in a performance of breathtaking beauty. Pahud returned after intermission to play Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 2. The impeccably phrased performance was highlighted by a playful cadenza in which the soloist seemed to tantalize the audience, fittingly enough, with snippets from Mozart's "The Magic Flute."