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  BIS -
  Seascapes - Sharon Bezaly
  Claude Debussy: La Mer, Trois esquisses symphoniques, Zhou Long: The Deep, Deep Sea, Frank Bridge: The Sea, Alexander Glazunov: La Mer Op. 28

Sharon Bezaly (flute)
Singapore Symphony Orchestra
Lan Shui (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 6 show all

Reviews: 4 show all

Review by Jonalogic July 14, 2010 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
What a pleasant surprise!

I've been collecting vinyl, CDs and - latterly - SACDs for over 30 years now. Phew... One of the great delights of this music collection mania is the unexpected. And this certainly falls into that category. Why buy a recording from an unknown orchestra and conductor of a great classic and three repertoire pieces that are somewhat off the beaten track? Well, this is why:

1) These are simply wonderful, nuanced performances, extremely well performed and directed. The warhorse Debussy, in particular, is given a performance of great sensitivity and finesse.

2) The whole SACD is thematically linked and the lesser known pieces turn out to be both interesting and well worth knowing better. The Bridge is fascinating, and the Zhou Long piece intriguing...

3) The BIS 'house sound' for SACDs is amongst the best, and this is a superior example of the breed- lucid, transparent and with a staggering dynamic range.

Unreserved five stars, therefore for the SACD layer.

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Review by raffells September 6, 2007 (6 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Almost in total agreement with Ed about this disc.Except for comments re the cover.|ts not to bad when you have it in your hands.The best work seems indeed to be Frank Bridges masterpiece.Certainly gives all my other versions a run for thier money.Other works are a very big bonus.
Dear Bissie more simialir themed various composers please.Especially of this quality and I dont care who or where they are recorded if like this.One of the best discs this year.thank

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Review by Edvin May 8, 2007 (5 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
If you have heard Debussy´s La Mer played by the great orchestras of the world, why would anyone want to hear it played by the Singapore Symphony? I had serious doubts about this SACD, but it took only a few minutes and I was completely won over. This is a marvellous disc and even though I prefer records focusing on one composer there is a theme here and the pieces are imaginatively chosen.

Debussy´s La Mer is crying out for SACD treatment and it sounds glorious in this recording. The conductor, Lan Shui, captures the different moods perfectly. I hear a lot of detail for the first time and this is partly due to the expert engineering, but also thanks to Shui´s care for detail. This La Mer has everyone on their toes and the climax at the end of the first movement is awesome. It is a delicate performance as well with excellent work from the soloists within the orchestra.

The Deep, Deep Sea is a very atmospheric piece by Zhou Long, written for alto flute/piccolo, timpani, harp and strings. It has a lot of lovely sounds and some memorable tunes and it is expertly written. At ten minutes it does not outstay its welcome. Sharon Bezaly is the soloist and as ususal she is excellent.

I think that Frank Bridge´s The Sea is a masterpiece, a neglected one. It has been recorded a few times, but I have never heard it live. This version by Shui is as good as any and definitely better than the lame Hickox. The first movement is problematic and can easily sound fragmented, episodic. Not so here, Shui balances the stillness with the outbursts to great effect. Lovely playing again. The second movement has that lovely muted quality we also find in the scherzo in Vaughan Williams A London Symphony. Moonlight. So exquisite and wistful, pure poetry. Again some impressive solo work. The Finale, Storm. Power galore. Great, simply great! But I will still keep my Groves.

Glazunov´s La Mer is new to me and it is heavily in debt to Wagner. The piece has some nice melodies and some very stormy episodes. Personally I´m not impressed by the music, but I think many will enjoy it.

The recording is awesome. It is recorded in the concert hall in Singapore and the room is clearly defined. The dynamic range is shattering, but what impresses me the most is the combination of detail and full power. The low end growls ominously and the high end shines like a diamond. The sound is rather close, not Barbican close, but if you like the emptiness of Chandos you may find this a bit up front. I love it because I can hear the cello section dig into their strings, and I can hear the seating arrangement perfectly.

I sincerely hope that BIS will follow this up with more seascapes and once again I plead for a Nystroem Sinfonia del mare.

The cover is hideous.

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Works: 4  

Frank Bridge - The Sea
Claude Debussy - La Mer, L 109
Alexander Glazunov - La Mer, Op. 28
Zhou Long - The Deep, Deep Sea