An intimate portrait of Sir James Galway, regarded by many as the finest flautist of his generation. The programme charts his remarkable rise to the top of the classical music world from humble beginnings with a Belfast flute band, and is given unique access to Galway at home and on tour. Galway was born in Belfast at the outbreak of the Second World War and established himself performing with the top London orchestras in the 1960s before becoming first flute with the Berlin Philharmonic. In the mid-70s he took the unusual step of leaving to launch a solo career and became a household name with the release of his instrumental version of John Denver's Annie's Song. He has sold more than 30 million albums and at the age of 75 continues to tour the world performing to packed houses and giving masterclasses to the next generation of world-class flute players. Galway speaks frankly about his life and career and puts his success down to hard work and daily practice. The documentary captures Galway backstage, in rehearsal and performing, and at his home overlooking Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, with his wife and fellow flautist, Jeanne.
After listening to these pieces, it is hard to believe that Mozart hated the flute, at least that what it said in the liner notes. It isn't important weather or not Mozart liked or disliked the flute. What is important is that he wrote these beautiful pieces for that instrument. The music on this disc, especially the Concerto for Flute and harp K.299, gliters with Mozart's enthusiasm and optimistic energy. Combine this with James Galway, Marisa Robles (the only harpist that I know of), and the expert Mozartean Neville Marriner, what you get is a great Mozartean experience.
The living legend of the flute, Sir James Galway, is widely considered the supreme interpreter of classical flute repertoire and a consummate entertainer whose appeal transcends musical boundaries. His virtuosity on the flute is equalled only by his limitless ambitions and vision. Through extensive touring, over 30 million albums sold, and frequent appearances on television shows worldwide, Sir James has garnered a fan base of millions.
It comes as no surprise that, a year after Rampal's death, James Galway should dedicate a disc to him. After all, Galway has always cited the Frenchman as his true mentor - and it was with Rampal that Galway first spied a golden flute. The recording actually happened over a year before Rampal died but appropriately enough contains concertos by the French Classical composer François Devienne, of whose music Rampal was a noted interpreter.
Although not as sophisticated as Mozart's flute concertos, Devienne's Nos 7 and 8 are entertaining. Galway takes full advantage of their singing melodies, striking a triumphant attitude with his shrill tone. This works best with No. 8, but the opening Allegro of No. 7 sounds more like an excited finale than an enticing introduction. For pure Classicists, Galway's slow movements will seem too voluptuous and the catchy last-movement themes too sturdy. But the London Mozart Players have a cheeky lightness about them, bringing each concerto to a convincing close..
Sir James Galway OBE (born December 8, 1939) is a Northern Ireland–born virtuoso flutist from Belfast, nicknamed "The Man With the Golden Flute". Following in the footsteps of Jean-Pierre Rampal, he became one of the first flute players to establish an international career as a soloist.
Irish flutist James Galway is a superb interpreter of the classical flute repertoire and a consummate entertainer. His silky tone and masterful technique, charismatic personality, and varied programs appeal to audiences of all ages and musical tastes.