Sharon Bezaly (flute)
rec. 2017-2022, Örebro Konserthus, Örebro, Sweden; Djursholms kapell, Djursholm, Sweden
BIS BIS2339 SACD [68]

The artistry of Sharon Bezaly here stands treasurable service as a unifying element. Her flute has graced dozens of Bis discs from Bis’s earlier days to the most recent. Around her wheel a choice constellation of sensitively inventive friends, soloists, other musicians and conductors. The latter are at the helm of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra which can be heard in all but two of the 15 tracks. Variety plays its part with the composers dating from across four centuries and two continents. The disc, in its cardboard double fold, opens and closes with baroquerie. The Telemann is accented romantically and the Bach Suite (a Greatest Hits assemblage), is shawled and honed to a fine point in this performance. I take only passing issue with the Badinage (tr. 15). Always taken at pace this very short bon-bon is here given hell-for-leather alla Heifetz. It is surefire impressive but the emotional agenda … ? No doubt that’s the way that Bach wrote it but this seemed breathless at a heart-level.

The long-lived and prodigiously productive Telemann here wrote a four movement work that is the epitome of cool and poise. That is what we find wondrously present on this Bis SACD. The second movement trips along deliciously with Bezaly and Michala Petri totally committed. The second slow movement is sensitively recorded with the harpsichord administering a notably moving quietus. This comes before a hunting presto finale. The little Saint-Saëns Tarentelle for flute, clarinet and orchestra is a low volume restrained but essentially sure-footed dance. In its small duration some nicely calculated eruptions are carried off with great musicality by the paired instruments. The Doppler duo concerto sustains the two flutes in a score that recalls Berlioz and Donizetti. Opportunities are splendiferously taken by Bezaly and Auer. How much of this bel canto aspect is down to the arranger, flautist, András Adorján (b. 1944), I wonder; it hardly matters. Just to note that in a refreshingly egalitarian step the two flautists alternate the first and second parts between them. At times the concerto is showy but there’s never any dearth of heart-healthy protein on tap. Jump forward to a year before the Second World War and we hear Villa-Lobos’s ear-tickling two movement Bachianas Brasileiras No. 6 for just flute and bassoon.

This is an frequently pleasing, varied and moving collection. Soulful and technical virtuosity is in play with typically fine audio judgements and documentation that does not disappoint.

Rob Barnett

Previous review: Zane Turner (January 2023)

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Contents and performers

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Concerto in E minor TWV 52:e1
Michala Petri (recorder)
Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Urban Svensson

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
Tarentelle Op 6
Michael Collins (clarinet)
Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Michael Collins

Franz Doppler (1821-83)
Concerto in D minor
Walter Auer (flute)
Swedish Chamber Orchestra/ Thomas Dausgaard

Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959)
Bachianas Brasileiras No 6
Bram van Sambeek (bassoon)

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Suite aus den Orchesterwerken (1909) – Badinerie (arr. Gustav Mahler)
Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Michael Collins