Sharon Bezaly

Flute

Described by The Times as “God’s Gift to the flute“, Sharon Bezaly was chosen as ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ by the prestigious Klassik Echo in Germany in 2002 and ‘Young Artist of the Year’ at the Cannes Classical Awards in 2003. Classics Today has hailed her as “a flutist virtually without peer in the world today“ and International Record Review wrote “Her recordings and concert appearances are typically more than simply triumphs: they are defining artistic events“.

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Ge Gan-Ru: Fairy Lady Meng Jiang

Ge Gan-Ru: Fairy Lady Meng Jiang


Ge Gan-Ru:

Fairy Lady Meng Jiang

Lovers Besieged, orchestral suite


Sharon Bezaly (flute)

Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Enrique Diemecke

Born in Shanghai in 1954, Ge Gan-ru grew up at a time when Western music was not heard in public, and could only be studied in secret. As the political and cultural atmosphere in China changed, Ge became one of the first students to enrol at the re-opened Shanghai Conservatory. There he was able to acquaint himself with the music of composers such as John Cage, George Crumb and Pierre Boulez, and it was at this time that he earned the designation ‘China’s first avant-garde composer’. Moving to New York in 1983, he continued his studies, with the expressed aim ‘to combine contemporary Western compositional techniques with my Chinese experience and Chinese musical characteristics’. A previous recording on BIS of Ge Gan-ru’s orchestral music impressed reviewers, with the website ClassicsToday.com remarking on the composer’s ‘immediately identifiable, intriguingly personal style’, ‘alternately exciting and ravishing’ and ‘full of warmth and humour’. The present disc combines two works which both proudly display their Chinese roots. The flute concerto Fairy Lady Meng Jiang is inspired by a classic Chinese fairy-tale, set in the 3rd century B.C. at the time of the building of the Great Wall and incorporating an element of magic as well as a dramatic love story with a deeply unhappy ending. The work is dedicated to Sharon Bezaly, the soloist on this recording, who also gave it its first performance together with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León and Enrique Diemecke in March 2009. The same occasion saw the first performance of its companion piece, the orchestral suite Lovers Besieged which the composer developed from an earlier trio for cello, percussion and piano. Again the work is rooted in early Chinese history – in fact just a few years after the events befalling Meng Jiang – and again it is a story of love and death, now played out against a back-drop of war and insurrection during the collapse of the Qin dynasty.

“Ge Gan-ru incorporates elements of traditional music and richly-scored late-Romanticism. Bezaly admirably meets the extraordinary demands of Meng Jiang.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ****

“For all of the gently artistry on show in the four-movement work that is Fairy Lady Meng Jiang the music is predominantly a vortex of the distraught and the anxious...This will broaden your horizons and introduce you to Ge, a composer...who is at ease working with the avant-garde and with the sentimentally eloquent.” MusicWeb International, 21st February 2014

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Whirling Dance

Whirling Dance

Works for Flute and Traditional Chinese Orchestra


Deng Yu-Hsien:

Spring Wind

arr. Qu Chunquan

Huang Yijun:

Fair Flowers under Full Moon

(arranged for piccolo and Chinese orchestra by Peng Xiuwen)

Ma Shui-long:

Bamboo Flute Concerto

(arranged for piccolo and Chinese orchestra by Chen Hsuan-Ho)

trad.:

The Thivats of Autumn

(arranged for flute and small Chinese instrumental ensemble by Zhou Chenglong)

Yiu-Kwong Chung:

Whirling Dance for flute and Chinese orchestra

Concerto for Flute and Chinese Orchestra


Sharon Bezaly (flute and piccolo), Liu Hung-Yu, guzheng (Chinese zither); Tsai Yu-Feng, yangqin (Chinese cimbalon) & Yeh Shu-Chen zhongruan (Chinese 4-string moon-shaped lute)

Taipei Chinese Orchestra, Chung Yiu-Kwong

“Anyone who has yet to encounter the playing of the astonishing young flautist Sharon Bezaly should do so without delay. She makes a sensational sound, can play anything from Bach to contemporary…” Classic FM Magazine

Together with the Taipei Chinese Orchestra and composer-conductor Chung Yiu-Kwong, Sharon Bezaly explores the sonic possibilities of the combination of Western flute and traditional Chinese instruments such as the erhu, guzheng, yangqin and zhongruan. Transverse (side-blown) flutes (typically made of bamboo) have long been important in Chinese music for more than 2000 years.

The sparkling music on this disc includes two newly composed works by Chung Yiu-Kwong, both dedicated to Bezaly, as well as a the arrangement of Ma Shui-Long’s concerto for bamboo flute and symphony orchestra into a concerto for piccolo and Chinese orchestra.

Of the remaining three shorter works, The Thivats of Autumn is an arrangement for chamber ensemble of a traditional Chinese classical tune for pipa, depicting the sadness experienced by Wang Zhaojun, one of ‘The Four Beauties’ of ancient China, as she is forced to by the Emperor Yuan (48-33 BC) to marry a foreign ruler and leave her country.

“The Taipei Chinese Orchestra articulate with balletic grace, that extraordinarily delicate string tone projecting with determined swank. Sharon Bezaly is her dependable self; her piccolo-playing in the Ma Shui-Long is über-expressive and the right side of shrill; in Chung Yiu-Kwong's concerto her lyrical float through the slow movement gives the notes added gravitas.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2009

“The title piece of Chung Yiu-Kwong… is a lively, entertaining piece, providing ample opportunity for Bezaly to display her agile articulation and clear tone. If you like Debussy (or even Rimsky-Korsakov!) you'll probably like this collection.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2009 *****

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Mozart - Complete Works for Flute and Orchestra

Mozart - Complete Works for Flute and Orchestra


Mozart:

Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, K313

Andante in C major, K315 for flute and orchestra

Flute & Harp Concerto in C major, K299

Rondo in D major, K184 Anh. for flute and orchestra

Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major, K314

Cadenzas by Kalevi Aho


“Bezaly's exquisite, technically immaculate, compelling playing sets new standards in this repertoire, as do Kalevi Aho's stunning cadenzas, composed especially for this recording” BBC Music Magazine

“Israeli flautist Sharon Bezaly offers delectable performances of the familiar Mozart concertos.
The composer famously protested that he loathed the flute, though he was far too much of a pro to slip from his customary fastidious standards.
In the fast movements he is at his most puckish and insouciant, while the slow ones, especially the Adagio ma non troppo of the G major, infuse graceful galanterie with exquisite poetry.
To both concertos, plus the two separate movements (of which the D major Rondo is a transcription of the dapper C major Rondo for violin, K373), Bezaly brings pure, delicately coloured tone – beautiful throughout its range – phenomenal agility and breath control, and an impish sense of fun. The Allegros have an elegant bounce, with soloist and the ever-alert Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra relishing their quickfire interplay. Repeats are always a cue for imaginative new phrasings; and time and again Bezaly provokes a smile with her playfully varied bravura passagework.
Bezaly opts for a lighter tonal palette than usual and favours a cooler, simpler (and arguably more Mozartian) approach in slow movements.
Where she steps right out of period is in the cadenzas. Specially written by Kalevi Aho, these refract and fragment Mozart through a 21st-century prism, exploiting the whole compass of the flute and giving Bezaly scope to explore intriguing new colours. Purists may throw up their hands. But if you can adjust to the time-travelling you may find Aho's cadenzas ingenious, entertaining and strangely touching.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

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BIS 40-Year Sampler

BIS 40-Year Sampler


Nils-Erik Sparf (violin), Roland Pöntinen (piano), Leonidas Kavakos (violin), Dan Laurin (recorder), Isabelle van Keulen (violin), Yoshikazu Mera (counter-tenor), Sharon Bezaly (flute), Emma Kirkby (soprano), Noriko Ogawa (piano), Christian Lindberg (trombone), Martin Frost (clarinet), Øystein Baadsvik (tuba), Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano), Freddy Kempf (piano), Vadim Gluzman (violin), Angela Yoffe (piano), Yevgeny Sudbin (piano), Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Anne-Marie Lasla (bass viol), Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo), Laurence Cummings (harpsichord), Julie Palloc (harp), Janne Berglund (soprano), Silje Marie Aker Johnsen (soprano), Alexeï Ogrintchouk (oboe), Malena Ernman (mezzo-soprano), Mats Bergström (guitar), Helena Juntunen (soprano), Katarina Karnéus (mezzo-soprano), Daniel Norman (tenor), Neal Davies (bass)

Madrid Atrium Musicae, Drottningholms Barockensemble, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Bach Collegium Japan Chorus, Bach Collegium Japan, Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Japan Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Salzburger Solisten, London Baroque, Royal Stockholm Philharmo, Gregorio Paniagua, Osmo Vänskä, Masaaki Suzuki, Lev Markiz, Shiego Genda, Charles Medlam, Magnus Ericsson, Ole Kristian Ruud, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Andrew Litton, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Juha Kangas, Grete Pedersen-Helgerod, Martin Gester, Michael Alexande

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Great Works for Flute and Orchestra

Great Works for Flute and Orchestra


Chaminade:

Concertino for Flute and Orchestra, Op. 107

Griffes:

Poem for flute & orchestra

Nielsen:

Flute Concerto, FS119

Poulenc:

Flute Sonata, Op. 164

Reinecke:

Flute Concerto in D major, Op. 283

Rimsky Korsakov:

Flight of the Bumble Bee

Tchaikovsky:

Largo and Allegro for flute and strings


Sharon Bezaly (flute)

Residentie Orkest Den Haag, Neeme Järvi

One of today’s most highly respected exponents of her instrument, Sharon Bezaly is a staunch champion of contemporary music, with 17 concertos and numerous chamber works dedicated to her. But she has also made acclaimed recordings of flute repertoire mainstays, from Mozart’s concertos and quartets to Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto pastoral. Her latest disc includes two central works from the repertoire for flute and orchestra – the concertos by Carl Nielsen and Carl Reinecke – as well as less often heard gems, such as Cécile Chaminade's melodious Concertino and Charles T. Griffes’ Poem, with its distinctive harmonies and colourful writing. The programme also includes a true rarity in Tchaikovsky’s youthful Largo and Allegro for flute and strings, written while the composer was still a student at the St Petersburg Conservatory. The work was originally composed for two flutes and strings, but as the second flute plays for just 17 of the total of 87 bars, either doubling or filling in when the first player is silent, the two parts have here been combined into one. In contrast, Poulenc's Sonata is of course one of the most popular pieces in the flute repertoire of the 20th century, but it is here performed in an unusual version for flute and orchestra, orchestrated by the British composer Lennox Berkeley, incidentally a friend of Poulenc. Throughout this colourful and varied programme, Sharon Bezaly enjoys the sympathetic support of Neeme Järvi and the Residentie Orchestra who also join her in the spectacular encore, the Finnish composer Kalevi Aho’s virtuosic arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov's The Flight of the Bumblebee.

“What is great about this disc is the startling playing of Sharon Bezaly. It is not that she grandstands in any way, she is just a phenomenally gifted flautist...The [Nielsen] has never been better recorded technically: that at least is certain.” MusicWeb International, 16th October 2013

“[the Nielsen] merits the supreme artistry that Shraon Bezaly brings to it, both in terms of deft, discerningly harnessed virtuosity and in her supple, sinuous shaping of the music. Neeme Jarvi and the Residentie Orkest Den Haag astutely etch in the lively, spicy instrumental context” Gramophone Magazine, November 2013

GGramophone Awards 2014

Shortlisted - Concerto

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2013

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Sharon Bezaly: Pipe Dreams

Sharon Bezaly: Pipe Dreams


Ginastera:

Impresiones de la Puna for flute and string quartet

version for flute and orchestra

Izarra:

Concerto for flute and strings - Pitangus Sulphuratus

Serebrier:

Flute Concerto with Tango

Vine, C:

Pipe Dreams


Sharon Bezaly (flute)

Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti (artistic director & lead violin)

Sharon Bezaly here performs with the eminent Australian Chamber Orchestra and Richard Tognetti in a programme which takes its name from the Australian composer Carl Vine’s work for flute and orchestra.

Pitangus Sulphuratus from the Venzuelan composer Adina Izarra’s concerto – composed in 1987, but with a new cadenza written especially for Bezaly – depicts a yellow and brown bird found in the Caracas valley. Its call appears throughout the piece

The tango makes an almost dreamlike appearance in Flute Concerto with Tango, which José Serebrier has dedicated to Sharon Bezaly.

Impresiones de la Puna embodies the dream of an eighteen-year-old Alberto Ginastera to find a truly Argentinean musical language.

“Bezaly plays the solo parts with great sympathy for their idioms, phenomenal virtuosity, perfect intonation even in the highest register, and warm tone. Her warmth is matched by the soloists from within the Australian Chamber Orchestra...Altogether, the four atmospheric works and Bezaly's performances amount to an impressive demonstration of the possibilities of the flute.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 *****

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LigAlien: Music by Mari Takano

LigAlien: Music by Mari Takano


Takano:

LigAlien I

LigAlien II

LigAlien III

LigAlien IV

Jungibility (for solo piano)

Full Moon for violin and electronics

Concerto for Flute and String Orchestra


Nathan Nabb (soprano saxophone), Masahito Sugihara (tenor saxophone), Winston Choi (piano), Kioko Yasuda (violin), Kazuko Nambara (harp), Shoko Ikeda (oboe), Miki Maruta (17-string koto), Mari Kimura (violin) & Sharon Bezaly (flute)

Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Anne Manson

BIS present a disc of works by the Japanese composer Mari Takano, composed between 2003 and 2009.

The four duos and trios that share the title LigAlien are all results of the idea of what would it be like to implant ‘alien’ music into one of Ligeti’s works.

Interspersing the four 'LigAliens' are two solo pieces, Jungibility for piano and Full Moon for violin and electronics, which also embrace a wealth of ideas both musical and otherwise from Duke Ellington, Omar Sosa and Stockhausen (Jungibility) and Björk, Pina Bausch and Miles Davis (Full Moon).

The closing Flute Concerto is the largest work on the disc. The present recording also appears on a previous BIS disc (BISCD1649), released in 2008, and the work was described by reviewers as 'a score which can move to a pop music beat without sinking into triviality or bombast' (in Gramophone).

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Across the Sea: Chinese-American Flute Concertos

Across the Sea: Chinese-American Flute Concertos


Chen Yi:

Golden Flute

Sheng:

Flute Moon

Zhou Long:

Five Elements

version for flute and orchestra

The Deep, Deep Sea for alto flute/piccolo, timpani, harp and strings


Flautist Sharon Bezaly with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Lan Shui here play the music of three composers who are all resident in the USA, but have their roots across the Pacific Ocean, in China. Philosophical, musical and literary aspects of this Chinese heritage are in evidence in the works recorded here.

Zhou Long has composed his Five Elements inspired by the traditional Chinese concept of the five ‘elemental energies’ (wu xing): metal, wood, water, fire and earth. For The Deep, Deep Sea, his shorter, single-movement work, Zhou Long found the title in a poem by the Chinese poet Li Bai (701–762 A.D.), exploring the metaphor of a sea voyage under difficult circumstances.

A later poet, Jiang Kui of the Song Dynasty, has provided Bright Sheng with the inspiration for the second movement of his two-movement work, Flute Moon, while the first movement, entitled Chi-Lin’s Dance, features the mythical Chinese unicorn. The closing work on the disc is Chen Yi’s The Golden Flute, a concerto in three movements, in which the stated aim of the composer has been ‘to let a Western flute speak in the language of Chinese wind instruments, such as the dizi made from bamboo and the xun made from clay.’

“There's plenty of trenchant listening alongside the more illustrative soundscapes.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2012 ****

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Sally Beamish: Orchestral Works

Sally Beamish: Orchestral Works


Beamish:

Violin Concerto

Anthony Marwood (violin)

Flute Concerto ‘Callisto’

Please note: the recording of Callisto included here was first released in October 2008 on ‘Spellbound’ BISCD1649, a disc of flute concertos

Sharon Bezaly (flute)

Symphony No. 1


In Beamish’s own words the symphony represents ‘a celebration of the beauty of Scotland, and the inspiration, both musical and visual, which I have found here.’ The piece combines elements of the traditional music of the Scottish bagpipe with an instrumental ‘setting’ of Psalm 104, praising the majesty of creation. Beamish was commissioned to write a concerto for the violinist Anthony Marwood, and from him received a copy of the novel All Quiet on the Western Front. The three movements of the concerto can be traced to three particular passages in the book, and are influenced by the composer’s ‘deep-rooted sense of the futility and tragedy of war’. The flute concerto is performed by the soloist it was composed for, Sharon Bezaly. This is the sixth disc on BIS dedicated to the music of Sally Beamish, music which in reviews of previous recordings has been described as and ‘striking compositions [which] combine lyricism and drama with clarity of form’ (in Gramophone).

“...the First Symphony leaves the strongest impression here...It makes no mean impression in this performance, Martyn Brabbins drawing a committed response from the Royal Scottish National players, who are hardly less attentive in the concertos.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010

“The fine three-movement violin concerto is fiercely projected by Anthony Marwood; and the flute concerto, a modern piece of “programme music”, tracking the myth of the title and inspired by Ted Hughes reading one of his Ovid translations, nicely exploits a quartet of solo instruments.” Sunday Times, 19th September 2010 ***

“Both Sally Beamish's concertos here...have literary backgrounds, and her music seems to be at its most potent and vivid when it takes on a descriptive or extra-musical dimension. The three movements of the Violin Concerto relate directly to three passages in a most unlikely source...yet paradoxically the music does not rely on any knowledge of that source for its powerful effect” The Guardian, 16th September 2010 ***

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Bezaly & Brautigam: Masterworks for Flute and Piano

Bezaly & Brautigam: Masterworks for Flute and Piano


Martin, F:

Ballade for Flute & Piano

Martinu:

Sonata for Flute & Piano, H. 306

Messiaen:

Le Merle noir for flute and piano

Poulenc:

Flute Sonata, Op. 164

Reinecke:

Sonata for flute & piano in E major 'Undine', Op. 167


Reinecke's work is a musical re-telling of the well-known story of Undine, the water spirit who marries a knight, but is betrayed and takes her revenge on him. Frank Martin's virtuosic Ballade (1939) features an acrobatic flute cadenza, roaming melismas and irrepressible cascades, generating a compelling sense of drama. In 1945, while in exile during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Martinu composed his Flute Sonata, in which the virtues of his distinct musical language are plain to hear - lyrical lines, a rhythmic drive which is both energetic and lively and an effective use of tone colour. Six years later the bird-lover Messiaen composed Le merle noir, constructed around the song of the blackbird, which he painstakingly noted down and then found the means to imitate on the flute. Poulenc's melodic Sonata, finally, has become a signature work for its composer: its lightness, transparency and sonic refinement have charmed audiences ever since the first performance.

“Sharon Bezaly is rarely less than impressive. Her well-constructed programmes are performed with a mixture of virtuosity and rich tone, making her name almost a guarantee of quality. Partnered here...by the equally exceptional Ronald Brautigam, Bezaly provides another showcase for their talents.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2010 ***

“if you want frankly seductive Poulenc, then Bezaly has your number. At no point in this programme does one feel let down by her playing, which always has character. Brautigam does not lack personality either.” International Record Review, October 2010

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