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Chamber Music / Imai, Bezaly, Brautigam


Release Date: 01/27/2004 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1439   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Reynaldo HahnMaurice DurufléTatiana NikolayevaMieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Sharon BezalyNobuko ImaiRonald Brautigam
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


For interesting repertoire, excellently played and gorgeously recorded, this disc will be hard to beat. Once again I feel compelled to express my wonder that there's simply so much good music coming out these days on so many labels--little known works beautifully presented by incredibly talented artists that deserve the widest possible exposure. This disc in particular should get a lot of radio play, as it contains a wide range of moods and styles for flute, viola, and piano in various combinations, half of the program being French, the other half Russian.


The program begins with Maurice Duruflé's very modal and very French Prélude, Récitatif et Variations
Read more for flute, viola, and piano, a substantial 11-minute movement that will enchant anyone who loves the Requiem or the other choral works. Reynaldo Hahn receives diverse coverage in the form of the Romanesque (for all three players) and then Deux pieces for flute and piano, intelligently arranged so as to bracket Ronald Brautigam's sensitive performance of Portraits de peintres for solo piano, based on poems by the composer's companion, Marcel Proust. The music might best be described as soft-edged Poulenc: it's light but never frivolous, and it's totally charming, especially as played here.


As you might expect, the Russian half of the program turns a bit more serious. Mieczyslaw (Moyse) Weinberg's Trio for flute, viola, and harp (here played with the optional piano part) at times recalls his friend Shostakovich, particularly in its central slow movement, with its spare lines and sense of desolation, and it features a curious tune that sounds exactly like a prominent theme from the closing scene of Janácek's The Makropoulos Case. We can but wonder. The finale, though, is bubbly and brilliant.


Tatiana Nikolayeva was a composer as well as a pianist, and evidently a very talented one too. Her Trio for flute, viola, and piano consists of eight delicious little vignettes imaginatively arranged and each very thematically memorable and attractive. I'd like very much to hear more of her work.


As suggested above, the performances are simply terrific. Sharon Bezaly plays with her characteristically firm tone and flawless virtuosity. Brautigam cultivates an attractively light touch and really strokes the keyboard with harp-like delicacy in the Weinberg. Nobuko Imai remains one of today's very finest violists. So what more could anyone want? Unfortunately the collection has no catchy album "title" (but then again, happily, the collection has no silly album "title" either), which may make it even harder to find than usual. But do seek it out--the music amply rewards the effort. [3/4/2004]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Romance for Violin and Piano in A major by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Sharon Bezaly (Flute), Nobuko Imai (Viola), Ronald Brautigam (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; France 
2. L'echanteur by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Sharon Bezaly (Flute), Ronald Brautigam (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
3. Portraits de peintres by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Ronald Brautigam (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; France 
4. Dans pour une déesse by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Sharon Bezaly (Flute), Ronald Brautigam (Piano)
5. Prelude, Recitative and Variations for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 3 by Maurice Duruflé
Performer:  Sharon Bezaly (Flute), Nobuko Imai (Viola), Ronald Brautigam (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 
6. Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18 by Tatiana Nikolayeva
Performer:  Nobuko Imai (Viola), Sharon Bezaly (Flute), Ronald Brautigam (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
7. Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp, Op. 127 by Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Performer:  Nobuko Imai (Viola), Sharon Bezaly (Flute), Ronald Brautigam (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1979; USSR 

Sound Samples

Prelude, recitatif et variations, Op. 3
Romanesque: for Flute, Viola and Piano
2 Pieces pour flute et piano: L' Enchanteur, No. 2 for Flute and Piano
Portraits de peintres: I. Albert Cuyp
Portraits de peintres: II. Paulus Potter
Portraits de peintres: III. Anton van Dyck
Portraits de peintres: IV. Antoine Watteau
2 Pieces pour flute et piano: Danse pour une Deesse No. 1 for Flute and Piano
Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp, Op. 127: I. Crochet = 63
Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp, Op. 127: II. Crochet = 48
Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp, Op. 127: III. Dotted Crochet = 92
Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18: I. Prelude. Moderato
Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18: II. Scherzo. Presto
Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18: III. Monologue (Solo Viola). Adagio
Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18: IV. Aria. Moderato
Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18: V. Intermezzo. Allegro molto
Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18: VI. Pastorale. Andante
Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18: VII. Fantasy March. Tempo di marcia
Trio for Flute, Viola and Piano, Op. 18: VIII. Finale. Allegro ma non troppo

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