All products and recordings are chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.

Synergy (Sharon Bezaly)

Sharon Bezaly (flute) et al (BIS)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

JS Bach/Mahler: Suite aus den Orchesterwerken*; Doppler: Flute Concerto in D minor; Saint-Saëns: Tarantelle in A minor*; Telemann: Concerto TWV 52:e1; Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 6
Sharon Bezaly (flute), Michael Collins (clarinet), Bram van Sambeek (bassoon); Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard, *Michael Collins
BIS BIS-2339 (CD/SACD)   67:59 mins

After two years of enforced separation and socially distanced music-making, Sharon Bezaly makes a playful return to the BIS recording studio for a series of performances rooted in collaboration and musical camaraderie. In this programme of concertos and chamber works, Bezaly’s trademark clarity of both thought and tone is matched by her colleagues. Her stripped-back, rounded sound is at the fore in Telemann’s Concerto in E minor, with her fellow instrumentalists dancing around one another before reaching the thrilling climax in the gypsy-style Presto. It’s carefully considered, though. While many other recordings fly into this movement with wild abandon, Bezaly and her colleagues take a more restrained tempo, making the acceleration much more impactful.

They take this same, thoughtful approach to the subsequent Tarantelle, a Saint-Saëns work that also featured on Bezaly’s 2002 album Aperitif. This interpretation is much lighter, with a broader palette of colours, supported by Michael Collins’s buoyant playing and BIS’s luminous recording. There’s nowhere to hide in Doppler’s Concerto for Two Flutes, or in Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras, with exposed, conversational duet lines sparking off throughout. Mahler’s arrangement of movements from Bach’s Orchestral Suites serves as another instance of synergy, this time between two composers at the height of their powers.

Altogether, a fervent reminder of the brilliance of collective music-making – and just how much we’ve missed it in recent years.

Freya Parr