Most important, she seems to speak directly to the audience through her instrument. Thanks partly to accompanist Alexandre Moutouzkine (her artistic equal), nearly every melody seemed to have secret lyrics, with each phrase having something specific to say. Her flourishes had theatrical underpinning. Her trills were beautifully integrated into her overall tone and the larger scheme of what she was communicating.
Such qualities were most apparent in Widor's Suite for Flute and Piano (Op. 34) (an excellent piece not widely known beyond flute circles), but were also apparent in more tightly harnessed form in Bach's Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord in G minor, whose appeal can so often seem mainly architectural.
Berio's Sequenza for unaccompanied flute came off like a cadenza-turned-atonal-operatic mad scene, whose final note was somehow colored to suggest a musically sane resolution.
The recital ended with a contemporary work by Yuko Uebayashi titled Au dela du temps for two flutes and piano that successfully weds Japanese sensibility with the French flute tradition. In lesser moments, the piece resembled several breezy early-20th-century French composers, and took on more substance when echoing Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Cello.
Elsewhere (such as the opening of the first movement), a highly original compositional voice emerged: The two flutes (the second played by Ya-Ting Yu) had the gentle manner of Japanese folk music, the meditative qualities of composer Toru Takemitsu, but moved in a canonic, medieval-tinged counterpoint.
It was a sound world unlike any I've heard. Such moments were like dreams that are too good to last.
Contact David Patrick Stearns at email@example.com.