Masterworks for Flute and Piano - Bezaly, Brautigam
Classical - Chamber
Prokofiev: Sonata for Flute and Piano Op. 94, Schubert: Variations "Trockne Blumen" D.802, Dutilleux: Sonatina, Jolivet: Chant de Linos
Sharon Bezaly (flute)
Ronald Brautigam (piano)
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Review by John Broggio - January 11, 2007
A truly wonderful disc from two great musicians.
Straying from his more familiar fortepiano, Ronald Brautigam accompanies arguably the finest solo flautist that is currently gracing the world's concert platforms today - Sharon Bezaly.
The Prokofiev sonata from 1943 opens the disc - as someone who studied the violin I used to believed that this version was an arrangement made for the flute not the other way around; how the young can be wrong! It is given a performance here that makes one ever wonder why the wider public still insist on listening this piece on anything but the instruments for which it was originally intended. Still, in 1943 we did not have such performers as since set down accounts like Galway and, more recently, Emmanuel Pahud. From the excitable outer movements (but always melodic as is Prokofiev's style) to the more introspective, although brief, andante this is a reading of a joyous piece that makes one smile with pleasure. In the more contemplative moments, Poulenc's beautiful sonata comes to mind and I would love to hear Bezaly play this at some point.
We then step backwards in time to Schubert's "Variations in E minor on 'Trockne Blumen'"; the playing is very good with the emotion inherent (as ever) in Schubert's turbulent world clearly but not neurotically bought to the fore. A nice touch from BIS is the allocation of a different track to each variation, a feature which I think every company could usefully follow. For those hesitating about purchasing this disc, I would direct lingerers to track 7 where the virtuosity is completely self-effacing but absolutely outstanding - it makes me shake my head in disbelief that it is humanly possible to play like this. In this piece, whilst they both successfully scale down their tones, it might have been even more interesting had Brautigam enticed Bezaly to take up a wooden flute with a favourite fortepiano of his but perhaps (hopefully) that will happen on another disc!
For the last two pieces, we complete our journey from Eastern to Western Europe and find two almost contemporaneous pieces from a pair of Frenchmen: Henri Dutilleux's Sonatina (1943) and André Jolivet's "Chant de Linos" (1944) - originally for Flute, String Trio & Harp but arranged by Jolivet for Flute and Piano. The Dutilleux was written (as have many chamber works) for competitions at the Paris Conservatoire but this is the inward looking virtuosity on display here for the most part where the technique should be all but invisible. Completely different is the Jolivet, where the virtuosity is worn on the sleeve of the music. In both works Bezaly and Brautigam respond with the utmost sensitivity and flair as called upon. The breath control and tonguing technique on display is like none that I've ever heard before and would be exciting in itself but this is allied to a very musical mind that makes a complete player.
The sound from BIS is wonderful - completely clear, present but never too closely miked. The balance is exemplary and overall this disc, with good notes, great music and with playing and engineering to match it is a model of its kind.
Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and HRAudio.net