Great Works for Flute and Orchestra
Sharon Bezaly, flute
Residentie Orkest Den Haag
Neeme Jarvi, conductor
Sharon Bezaly has been steadily gaining attention in the classical world, and this recording simply adds to her reputation.
Bezaly plays with a very clear, pure tone that's well-suited to the material in this collection. Her command of the flute is exemplary. She maintains control in the extremes of the upper register, keeping the sound warm and rounded, never edgy or shrill. Her agility and precision make difficult passages seem easy -- and makes them easy to follow.
The "Great Works for Flute and Orchestra" are a mixture of pieces originally written for that configuration, and some interesting arrangements.Original works include concertos by Carl Nielsen and Carl Reinecke, a concertino by Cecile Chaminade, and the Poem for flute and orchestra by Charles Tomlinson Griffes. Arrangements include Tchaikovsky's largo and allegro, and the perennial encore piece, "Flight of the Bumblebee." Lennox Berkeley's orchestration of Francis Poulenc's Flute Sonata retains character of the work, fleshing out the structure in an interesting fashion.
The Nielsen concerto is the most aggressive of the works in the program, and one Bezaly plunges into with great relish. By contrast, she performs the Chaminade concertino with a charming tenderness entirely appropriate to the work.
Neeme Jarvi draws a warm, sympathetic sound from the Resident Orchestra of the Haag, and BIS (as always) delivers a natural-sounding recording. Although available for download, I recommend the SACD version if you have the playback equipment. The subtleties of Bezaly's phrasing (and remarkable breath control) can only be fully appreciated in this higher fidelity format.