Huw Watkins – Flute Concerto (world premiere)Mahler – Symphony no.1 in D major
Adam Walker (flute)
London Symphony Orchestra
Daniel Harding (conductor)
Adam Walker had already premiered one of Huw Watkins’s works, the Capriccio for flute and piano, in 2010. Upon Walker’s award of a Fellowship from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, and consequent funding for a commission, both from the Trust and from individual patrons, Walker approached Watkins to write a concerto, whose premiere we were now to hear. According to Schott’s website, the concerto is ‘built around Walker’s playing,’ the composer having noted ‘especially Walker’s “amazing sound and control of his instrument”, which he constantly had in mind during the composition process”.’ Insofar as I could tell from a first hearing and without a score, there seemed to be no doubt not only of Walker’s technical facility but also of his musical commitment, ably supported by the London Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding. Phrasing and variegated tone suggested a repertoire work Walker had been playing for years rather than a first performance. Watkins could hardly have hoped for superior advocacy.