Devienne • Saint-Saens • Fauré (Orch. Talmi) • Gounod

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COMPOSERS: Devienne,Fauré (Orch. Talmi) & Gounod,Saint-Saens
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Apéritif Ð a French Collection
WORKS: Works by Devienne, Saint-Saëns, Fauré (orch. Talmi) & Gounod
PERFORMER: Sharon Bezaly (flute), Harri Mäki (clarinet); Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow


Beyond Bach, Debussy and a distinctly reluctant Mozart, few of the ‘greats’ have been inspired to write music for the flute, whether in chamber or concertante media. Short of commissioning new repertoire, flautists have to make the best of what they have inherited. That is certainly the case here, where Sharon Bezaly dazzles in a succession of works by composers who can hardly be classified in the first rank. First comes a recently rediscovered five-minute Concertino by Gounod, a three-movement miniature with a catchy Scotch snap at its heart.

Devienne’s Seventh Flute Concerto (of 18…) sounds a poor relation to those of his contemporary, Mozart, and perhaps Bezaly could have done more to perk up its rather earnest exterior – her phrasing is a little staid. The best-known work here, Fauré’s Fantaisie, in an orchestration by Yoav Talmi, comes across warmly and four typically melodious miniatures by Saint-Saëns – whose Odelette from 1920 strangely sounds much earlier than the 1857 Tarantelle (where Bezaly is paired with clarinettist Harri Mäki) – are characterfully played and respond to Bezaly’s almost vocal style. The Tapiola Sinfonietta provides solid support throughout. An apéritif implies something more substantial is to follow. Let’s hope that is the case.


Matthew Rye