Music Web International: outstanding; International Record Review: outstanding; Klassik Heute: outstanding.
During long periods the flute has been almost synonymous with France, the country from which the music, the great players and the finest instruments all came. The French flute – whether dreamy as in Debussy’s Syrinx or sprightly as in Poulenc’s Sonata – is simply unmistakeably French, in all its delights. On her new release, renowned flutist Sharon Bezaly – who herself studied in Paris – celebrates this tradition, with a programme consisting of works composed between 1889 and 1946. Among the composers, some – Widor and Milhaud – are more famous than others, but not necessarily for their flute works. (Widor, for instance, is mainly known for his organ compositions.) Others are closely associated with the flute and, indeed, with the works here recorded. Roussel’s Joueurs de flûte is a case in point: a panorama of the flute through the ages in which each of the four movements evokes a mythical flutist, such as the Greek god Pan and the Hindu deity Krishna. Roussel has also composed the settings of two poems by Ronsard, in which Sharon Bezaly is joined by Barbara Hendricks. French Delights is something of a companion piece to a previous Bezaly disc: Café au Lait, a predominantly French flute recital accompanied by Roland Pöntinen. Upon its release that disc, and the artistry of Sharon Bezaly, were highly acclaimed, for instance in French magazine Diapason: ‘The flute turns into the voice of enchantment, a lullaby of the senses or an invitation to dreamfulness, into planing light or the glitter of light on water – an instrument almost too beautiful.’ Here again, with the support of eminent pianist Love Derwinger, Sharon Bezaly displays her prodigious talent.
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