Before the concert began, ITG President Cathy Leach presented the Guild’s most prestigious award, the ITG Honorary Award, to Marie Speziale, who accepted the honor with a gracious speech. Conference Director Jean-Christophe Dobrzelewski then introduced Pacho Flores and explained that the program was structured to progress from the Baroque era to the present and that Flores would be using a wide variety of Stomvi instruments displayed on a table on the left side of the stage.
Accompanied by the ITG Festival Orchestra, Flores conducted while performing, standing in the center of the strings. When he wasn’t playing, he turned around to face the orchestra and conduct in the usual manner. Most of the time, however, he led as a chamber musician, nodding and dancing to the beat while facing the audience, often directing with his right hand while continuing to play the trumpet. And did he ever play! Flores possesses a rare ability to perform absolutely anything in any style and on any horn (piccolo through flugelhorn and corno da caccia)—from memory, while conducting—with effortless mastery and peerless artistry. Pacho Flores embodies a level of virtuosity that borders on the supernatural.
The program began with Efrain Oscher’s arrangement of Daquin’s Le Coucou with Pacho dazzling the audience on piccolo trumpet through a flurry of spinning sixteenth notes tossed off with impeccable élan. Switching to a corno da caccia (similar to a valved posthorn), he gave an unforgettable performance of the Neruda concerto. Replete with understated elegance, inventive cadenzas, and tasteful ornamentation, Flores entranced the audience with the seductive dark sound of the instrument.
Pacho introduced the next piece, Oscher’s Barroqueana Venezolana 2, by referring to his “little arsenal by Stomvi” as he moved three of the instruments to a padded piano bench next to him by the cello section. Written for Flores and designed to “combine Baroque music with Venezuelan elements,” the three movements featured playful piccolo pyrotechnics, a seductive serenade showcasing the low register of the four-valve Stomvi Titan flugelhorn, and a mixed-meter dance reminiscent of neoclassical Stravinsky. Flores returned to piccolo trumpet for an arrangement of the Aria from Villa-Lobos’ Bachiana Brasilena No. 5, which featured a soulful cantabile line over restless pizzicato strings. The Latin American set continued with arrangements of two Piazzolla pieces, Escualo and Invierno Porteno (a jazzy flugelhorn showcase), and two pieces composed by Flores—Morocota and Labios Vermelhos (a delightful samba). The final selection on the program was Oscher’s Soledad, which began with a poignant solo for the English horn, followed by increasingly elaborate variations from Flores, culminating in a blizzard of figuration leading to a final climax. The audience leapt to their feet in an immediate ovation, bringing Flores back for multiple bows until he agreed to play an encore, a tender ballad that he dedicated to ITG Honorary Award Winner Marie Speziale. When it was all over, he got down on one knee, blew her a kiss, and bowed like a gallant Knight of the Realm. (EK)
Face to face with Mozart. Hernández-Silva and the MFO.
Review – Alejandro Fernández for LA OPINIÓN from Málaga. Edgar Neville Hall. Paino: Emin Kiourktchyan. Program: W. A. Mozart: Piano Concerto n.19 in F Major, Kv.459; J. Brahms: Symphony nº.4 in e Minor, op. 98. Conductor: Manuel Hernández-Silva.
The end of the season is coming and the first of closing concerts correspond to the Cycle ‘In the Seafront’, what happens in the Edgar Neville Hall. With a younger profile audience than the main cycle in the Teatro Cervantes, maestro Hernández-Silva, Chief Conductor of the orchestra, proposed a meeting between Mozart and Brahms since the point of view of the evolution of the solo concert in the first composer, and the full development of the symphony in the other. Two key figures of the great repertoire and a young, still in training, musician Emin Kiourktchyan, with the freshness approach to the great Art in capitals. A serious program for a festive and celebrating evening.
The improvement of musical training in the region of Andalusia is already a fact in the concert halls. A new horizon is open that obligues to a right management of this flow of young musicians. Always sensitive to this reality, the Malaga Philharmonic lead by its Musical and Artistic Director Manuel Hernández-Silva, dedicates the Cycle ‘In the Seafront’ as a showcase and opportunity for young musicians as Emin Kiourktchyan to work together with a professional orchestra.
Kiourktchyan, next to fourteen years old, played the Piano Concerto Kv.459 by Mozart with rigor and skills of experienced soloist. He was perfect with the sound, articulation and phrasing, mature to understand the underlying sense of humour and with the necessary virtuosity, as behind the apparent jolliness, the score is a real expressive challenge. Hernández-Silva created the right conceptual environment to leave Kiourktchyan to free his talent and anergy..
If short ago it was Brahms’ 3rd Symphony, to close the last program of the In the Seafront cycle Hernández-Silva conducted a 4th Symphony based on the strong complicity between the baton and the musicians that so excellent results is obtaining. The big Brahms Symphony was built over the solvency of the woodwinds, with special mention of fagots, flutes and clarinets, and the sensuality of the strings. A perfect piece to check the actual state of the orchestra, and the conclusion is that Hernández-Silva has positioned the Malaga Philharmonic to an artistic level unconceivable short time ago.
After his concert in France wit the Orchestre de Cannes on next April the 21st at the Congress Hall of Antibes Juan-les-Pins under the baton of Benjamin Pionnier and with some of his classics like Concerto para corno de Caccia by Neruda, Aria from the Bachiana Brasileira nº 5 by Villalobos, Gypsy Airs by Sarasate and Winter in Buenos Aires by Piazzolla, Pacho Flores will record his third release for Deutsche Grammophon.
Between April the 30th and May the 3rd, Flores will lock himself together with the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Christian Lindberg at the Stormen Concert Hall of Bodo, Norway, to record some outstanding trumpet concertos of the repertoire, together with one of the most interesting trumpet concerto of the modern times and some of Pacho Flores’s specialties (we will give more detailed information soon). Part of this repertoire will be played during an European Tour in November that will take place in venues like Bodo and Tromso Concert Halls, home venues of the Arctic Philharmonic; Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Salzburg Festspielhaus and, in Spain, the Auditorio Príncipe Felipe in Oviedo, Palau de la Música in Valencia and ADDA – Auditorio de la Diputación in Alicante.
Pacho Flores, commissions and premieres
Pacho Flores is also developing an ambitious project of shared commission to prominent composers as Arturo Márquez, Roberto Sierra, Paquito D’Rivera, Efraín Oscher and Christian Lindberg, whose premieres will take place all along the world during the next four seasons. First of the commissions, to Arturo Márquez, will be premiered in México, USA, Japan and Spain along the 18/19 season.
Besides this project of commissions Pacho Flores will also play the absolute premieres of other works by composers as Daniel Freiberg, Arturo Sandoval, Christian Lindberg and Efraín Oscher, in places like the Nederlands, Argentina, Spain and Germany, respectively, that add to other recent premieres as Cantos y Revueltas, by Pacho Flores himself, with the Real Filharmonía de Galicia and Manuel Hernández-Silva on past January; the Trumpet Concerto by Giancarlo Castro with the Ulster Orchestra and Rafael Payare in February; or Preach, pour trompette et orchestre, by Alain Trudel, with the Orchestre Symphonique de Laval and Trudel himself at the baton, on past March.
When the world premiere of a concerto is announced nowadays, some people wince in case it is another of those technically brilliant pieces which turns out to be utterly boring. Thankfully, this was not the case with Giancarlo Castro’s Concerto, titled Stunning Trumpet, premiered in the Ulster Hall by the Ulster Orchestra and its music director Rafael Payare to stunning effect. This concerto was played with remarkable skill and gusto on not one, but four trumpets (though not at the same time) by soloist Pacho Flores.
He has deep roots in Latin America, and he and Payare played together in the well-known Simon Bolivar Orchestra in Venezuela. The music of Castro’s new Trumpet Concerto is deeply embedded in the Latin American, jazz and cinema tradition, and it is captivating from start to finish. The concerto is bursting with many different melodies and rhythms, and for most of the piece the Ulster Orchestra played like a Fifties Big Band swinging its way through a major jazz concert. One hopes that Stunning Trumpet will soon be on CD to enrich many a car journey. For good measure, the soloist underlined his range by playing Neruda’s delightful 18th century Trumpet Concerto, and ended in the Latin-American idiom with Piazzolla’s charming Winter in Buenos Aires.
The wide-ranging concert began with the wistful and dreamlike Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune, to mark the centenary of the death of Debussy, who also wrote the celebrated La Mer – even if he was unable to swim. The warmly-received concert ended with a riveting performance of the Hungarian Bela Bartok’s orchestral showpiece Concerto for Orchestra, a work of genius written in only eight weeks by the composer who was suffering from leukaemia and died tragically just two years later at the age of 64. Maestro Payare has been appointed as full-time music director of the San Diego Symphony from the autumn of 2019, so catch this world-class young conductor in Belfast while you can.
Between his next engagements stands out the large project of commissions of new trumpet concertos to prominent composer as Arturo Márquez, Roberto Sierra, Paquito D’Rivera, Efraín Oscher or Christian Lindberg, to be premieres for many orchestras all around the world. First of the commissions, to the Mexican composer Arturo Márquez, will have its premieres along the 2018/19 season in Mexico, the US, Japan and Spain. Besides this project, that season he will also premiere a new Double concerto for trumpet, trombone and orchestra by Christian Lindberg with a Spanish orchestra, where Christian will also appear as a conductor.
These new commissions will take part of new releases for Deutsche Grammophon. In addition, new engagements will bring him along the next months to Norway, Switzerland, Canada, the Netherlands, US, France, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and two new tours with the Arctic Philharmonic and the Israel NK Orchestra are already scheduled to bring him again to Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Spain, where it will finish with three concerts in Alicante, Valencia and Oviedo in November 2018.