Prokofiev, Schubert, Dutilleux & Jolivet

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Dutilleux & Jolivet,Prokofiev,Schubert
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Masterworks for flute and piano
WORKS: D major Sonata; Chant de Linos; Sonatina
PERFORMER: Sharon Bezaly (flute)
Ronald Brautigam (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SACD-1429 (hybrid CD/SACD)
Historically the most frequent complaints about flute playing have been of shrillness, breathiness, excessive vibrato and a lack of tonal and dynamic variety. Sharon Bezaly sweeps any such criticisms aside with these vigorous, sensuous and sensitive performances that are spaciously recorded. Her tone is even throughout its range and even at fortissimo maintains a pure stream of sound with never a wobble. Occasionally we hear her breathe, but it’s never obtrusive – anyway we might remember Stravinsky’s dislike of the organ for the very reason that it did not breathe. Ronald Brautigam combines virtuosity with outstanding skills as an accompanist, leaving Bezaly both temporal and dynamic space where she needs it; and his left-hand comments in the first Schubert variation are a particular delight. Elsewhere, Prokofiev’s superb lyrical gifts are treasured in the D major Sonata, while at the other extreme our peace of mind is disturbed by the archaic wildness of Jolivet’s Chant de Linos. Somewhere between these two comes Dutilleux’s early Sonatina, a work he no longer likes or, really, wants to have performed. If any performance could change his mind, it would be this.

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Roger Nichols.