Commissioned by William Nerenberg and Dorothy Rosenthal.
Premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Robert Spano, soloist Jeffrey Khaner, Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, March 4, 5 and 8, 2011.
Other performances: Fairfax Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Zimmerman, soloist Christina Jennings, January 19, 2013; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Spano, soloist Jeffrey Khaner, March 6 -7, 2014.
But for sheer sonic beauty, the high point was Jonathan Leshnoff’s Flute Concerto. Written just a few years ago, it’s a shimmering and absolutely beautiful work, awash in the iridescent colors... Leshnoff is clearly one of the more gifted young American composers around; kudos to the Fairfax players for showcasing his music.
—Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post, January 21, 2013
But within the confines of that aesthetic, and like with his earlier Violin Concerto, the most elusive attribute for Leshnoff as a composer remains a uniquely identifiable voice. One hears a flood of historical influences as well as similar peer voices within this Flute Concerto though one need not parse out what’s identifiably only Leshnoff, unvarnished, to enjoy this credible work.
—Mark Gresham, Arts Atlanta, March 7, 2014
Respecting the nature of the instrument, flute concertos tend to steer away from things heroic and imposing—one reason Leshnoff’s manner here was less rugged than in his engaging Violin Concerto. Though in the neo-tonalist camp, Leshnoff’s concerto never feels like a re-run, or in the least bit inauthentic. He comes to his language with an underlying toughness not always heard in his like-minded contemporaries.
Ravel looms in the background of his more sensual moments; Stravinsky is echoed in the animated final movement. Yet familiarity isn’t why this music has much to offer on first hearing. The piece has great clarity of intent, even in more complicated fast movements, which the composer tends to anchor around pithy motifs whose transformation shows off his sense of invention. Next to the Ibert and Mozart concertos Khaner also plays, this new work is quite a welcome alternative—and makes one look forward to the oratorio Leshnoff has written for next month’s festival.
—David Patrick Stearns , Philadelphia Inquirer, March 5, 2011