> BACH Flute sonatas Beznosiuk [KM]: Classical CD Reviews- Aug 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Complete Flute Sonatas

Compact Disc 1 – [58'55]
Sonata in E minor BWV1034
1. Adagio ma non tanto [3'18]
2. Allegro [2'31]
3. Andante [3'29]
4. Allegro [4'28]
Sonata in A major BWV1032
5. Vivace (completed by Lisa Beznosiuk) [5'38]
6. Largo e dolce [3'25]
7. Allegro [4'22]
Partita in A minor BWV1013
8. Allemande [5'12]
9. Corrente [3'52]
10. Sarabande [6'51]
11. Bourrée Angloise [2'37]
Trio Sonata in G major BWV1039 (Rachel Brown flute II)
12. Adagio [3'45]
13. Allegro ma non presto [3'26]
14. Adagio e piano [2'19]
15. Presto [2'55]
Compact Disc 2 – [62'47]
Sonata in B minor BWV1030
1. Andante [8'11]
2. Largo e dolce [4'01]
3. Presto – Allegro [5'32]
Sonata in E major BWV1035
4. Adagio ma non tanto [2'34]
5. Allegro [3'06]
6. Siciliano [4'33]
7. Allegro assai [3'03]
Sonata in G minor BWV1020
8. [movt 1] [3'46]
9. Adagio [3'31]
10. Allegro [4'55]
Sonata in C major BWV1033
11. Andante [1'30]
12. Allegro [2'41]
13. Adagio [1'50]
14. Menuetto I and II [2'11]
Sonata in E flat major BWV1031
15. Allegro moderato [3'41]
16. Siciliano [2'21]
17. Allegro [4'25]
Lisa Beznosiuk, flute
Richard Tunnicliffe, cello
Paul Nicholson, harpsichord
Rec: September 2000, January 2001, Walcot Hall, Shorpshire, England.
HYPERION CDA 67264/5 [121.42]

Any recording purporting to contain Bach’s "complete" works for flute has to overcome an initial hurdle - which works will it include? From spurious works to fragments, no recording of these works meets with unanimous approval. The sonatas BWV 1020, 1031 and 1033 are "unlikely to be a product solely, if at all, of Bach’s pen." And sonata BWV 1032 is incomplete, and is recorded here with a completion by flautist Liza Beznosiuk. So why record these works if they are not by Bach? Why complete a work whose manuscript is incomplete?

These issues are certainly of interest to musicologists, but to the average music-lover who wants a set of Bach’s works for flute, they are less of an issue. After all, some of Bach’s finest works were probably written by others - I think of the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor for organ, which, according to current thinking, is not by Bach. Nevertheless, the music on these two discs is delightful, intense, profound and magnificent.

Lisa Beznosiuk is an fine flautist, and plays an excellent sounding flute. The beginning section of the E minor sonata features some low notes that highlight the instrumental purity she is capable of attaining. Her performances are never flashy, but are efficiently attractive. She seems to espouse this music with love and understanding, and plays it with a great deal of feeling. The high point of her performance is the demanding partita in A minor for solo flute. She gives a beautiful reading of this work, showing the intensity of such a deceptively simple yet profound partita. I would, however, find it even more attractive with a bit less reverb on the recording.

The harpsichord is a bit distant at times; this is apparent in its solo section at the opening of the A major sonata. It sounds better in the B minor sonata for flute and harpsichord. There is clearly a difference between the two recordings. But the overall balance of the instruments is fine, and when the flute, cello and harpsichord play together, such as in the E minor sonata, the sound is rich and compelling.

Bach wrote some beautiful music for the flute, yet his most poignant moments for this instrument are in the arias with obbligato flute in many of his sacred cantatas. One has the feeling that he did not think as highly of the flute as a solo instrument, and that he saw it mostly as an instrument to accompany voices. Nevertheless, these two discs show the extent of his compositions for the flute in chamber music, and bear witness to his extraordinary ability to compose music that was idiomatic for almost any instrument.

With fine performances, excellent musicians, and sound to match, this disc is an superb overview of Bach’s chamber music for flute.

Kirk McElhearn


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