On the evidence of this sensational disc, it seems clear that Sharon Bezaly is a flutist virtually without peer in the world today. The only serious competition for top position comes from Emmanuel Pahud, also a superb artist but one whose discography, fine enough in and of itself, fails to rise to Bezaly's level either in terms of imaginative programming or in its commitment to commissioning and recording worthy new works for the instrument./quote]
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.
Ransom Wilson has long been recognized internationally as one of the greatest flutists of his generation. After graduation from the Juilliard School in 1973, he spent a year in Paris as a private student of Jean-Pierre Rampal. In 1976 he gave his official debut concert in New York City, with Rampal as his guest artist. An exclusive recording contract with Angel/EMI followed soon thereafter, along with extensive performances all over the world.
A cheerful little record, this, of three lightweight works played most exquisitely by very distinguished artists. In fact I am not sure that the chief distinction doesn't emanate from the orchestra: it is a while, as it happens, since I have heard the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and they seem to be playing here better than ever—sweet string tone, pure intonation, finely moulded phrasing, impeccably precise ensemble. Of the three works, the Cimarosa, written for two flutes (in which form it has several times been recorded), is the most attractive for its fluency, its melodiousness (the finale is a real charmer) and its elegant musical form; the Salieri seems by comparison rather carefully devised, though of course it has plenty of entertaining music. Carl Stamitz's piece takes itself more seriously, trying to be symphonic and taking less trouble about being tuneful—though the warm, galant slow movement makes very pleasing listening. The recorded sound is clear and true. (Stanley Sadie, Gramophone)