Sharon Bezaly, Ronald Brautigam - Masterworks for Flute and Piano (2006)
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Sharon Bezaly, Ronald Brautigam - Masterworks for Flute and Piano (2006)

Artist: Sharon Bezaly, Ronald Brautigam
Title: Masterworks for Flute and Piano
Year Of Release: 2006
Label: BIS
Genre: Classical
Quality: FLAC (image+.cue,log,scans)
Total Time: 63:03
Total Size: 255 Mb
WebSite:

Tracklist:

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
[1]-[4] Соната ре мажор, Op. 94
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
[5]-[13] Variations in E minor on the song ‘Trockne Blumen’, D 802
Henri Dutilleux (b. 1916)
[14] Sonatina
André Jolivet (1905-1974)
[15] Chant de Linos

Performers:
Sharon Bezaly, flute
Ronald Brautigam, piano

On the evidence of this sensational disc, it seems clear that Sharon Bezaly is a flutist virtually without peer in the world today. The only serious competition for top position comes from Emmanuel Pahud, also a superb artist but one whose discography, fine enough in and of itself, fails to rise to Bezaly's level either in terms of imaginative programming or in its commitment to commissioning and recording worthy new works for the instrument. In this respect, Bezaly certainly stands alone. This collection, though, features some of the most popular chamber works in the flute repertoire. They've all been recorded many times previously, but here too there's no question that the team of Bezaly and Brautigam makes an unbeatable combination.

Prokofiev's Flute Sonata also exists in a version for violin and piano (the so-called Second Violin Sonata), but this is the original scoring, and it would be difficult to imagine a more refreshing duo. The tunes come out of the composer's top drawer and audibly relate to works composed around the same time , such as the Fifth Symphony and the ballet Romeo and Juliet. Bezaly plays the solo part perfectly, with a rich, liquid tone, amazing breath control, and pinpoint accuracy of pitch. She has an ideal partner in Brautigam (in all these works). He offers lots of intriguing pianistic detail but always knows exactly how to modulate his tone so as to maintain a partnership of equals with the flute. The finale in particular contains some of the most finely judged keyboard/wind coordination ever captured on recordings, and you simply won't find a better performance of this sonata anywhere.

The same high level of achievement applies to the other three works on the disc. Schubert's Trockne Blumen Variations have an unusual depth of sadness thanks to Bezaly's ability to control her vibrato to expressive effect. There are several points where the melody has never sounded more consciously redolent of, and hardly less beautiful than, the Allegretto second movement of Beethoven's Seventh. It's a gorgeous, heartfelt performance. Dutilleux's delightful Sonatina flows seamlessly and sports an unusually high degree of timbral and rhythmic contrast. Once again, both here and in Jolivet's exotic Chant de Linos, Brautigam deserves a huge amount of credit for being able to play fistfuls of notes with impeccable clarity while still keeping such nuanced control of rhythm and dynamics.

And as for Bezaly, her brilliance in the Dutilleux can practically be taken for granted, while the Jolivet offers the sexiest 10 minutes ever produced by a wind instrument. BIS's sonics are state-of-the-art, whether in stereo or discreetly richer multichannel surround sound. I have to confess that I sometimes find it hard to care about flute recitals, especially since they are so ubiquitous, and so many consist either of inept transcriptions or a random assortment of less than first-rate music. Here we have four genuine masterpieces that make a lovely program together, all really written for flute and piano, and all played to a standard that silences criticism--not to mention the competition. I expect that I will be returning to this disc often after a hard day's work, and I feel certain that you will too. It's a breath of musical fresh air. -- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday




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