Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com's weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!
Following his 2022 recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Romances, violinist Charlie Siem offers this album that includes the Violin Sonata in A minor by the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958); and Sonata No. 2 in G major by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), as well as his own transcription for violin and piano of "Solveig’s Song" from Act III of Grieg’s Peer Gynt. "Choosing these works feels a bit like a DNA test. I was born an Englishman, and my father is Norwegian," Siem said. "This record is an examination of that history for me." BELOW: Grieg's Violin Sonata No. 2 in G Major, Op. 13: III. Allegro animato:
Poulenc, Prokofiev & Stravinsky: 3 Sonatas for Violin & Piano
David Grimal, violin
Itamar Golan, piano
Three sonatas, three composers, three different universes, but three pieces dating from the same period, the 1930s and 1940s, between the rise of the totalitarian regimes and the Second World War, and written for the same forces, a violin-piano duo. It was the Paris Opéra that saw the 1928 premiere of the ballet Le Baiser de la fée (The Fairy’s Kiss), which Igor Stravinsky concocted from pieces by Tchaikovsky. Movements from this neo-classical score were rearranged in part four years later, with the help of the violinist Samuel Dushkin, under the title Divertimento. Having returned to his native country, which had become the USSR, Sergei Prokofiev began composing his First Violin Sonata in 1938 for the legendary David Oistrakh, its dedicatee. The work was not to be completed until 1946, and Oistrakh played its two Andante movements at Prokofiev’s funeral. In the meantime, Francis Poulenc had conceived his own Violin Sonata in occupied Paris in 1942-43 with input from the great violinist Ginette Neveu, who premiered it at the Salle Gaveau in June 1943 with Poulenc at the piano. BELOW: Stravinsky: Divertimento from the "Fairy's Kiss" for Violin and Piano: I. Sinfonia
For her debut album, violinist Veronika Eberle performs the Beethoven Violin Concerto, with new cadenzas by composer Jörg Widmann. Not only is Beethoven’s Violin Concerto a particular favorite of Eberle, it has been central to her career — most notably alongside Sir Simon Rattle, who has been her long-time supporter and collaborator. About the modern cadenzas: "We needed someone from our time, from our century, who has an amazing sound and voice, but who has a connection to these old masters — it was Jörg Widmann who immediately came to mind," Eberle said. "May listeners hear the Violin Concerto — in all its stark radicalism, its brazen beauty and its love of experimentation — in a new way with these cadenzas: as contemporary music of today." BELOW: Beethoven Violin Mvt 1 cued to start at the cadenza by Jörg Widmann:
Unrelated to the violinist Nathan Milstein, Moscow-born Netherlands-based Maria Milstein won the Dutch Music Prize in 2018 and released the album Ravel Voyageur in 2019. Here she plays both of Sergei Prokofiev's violin concertos: "The first time I heard Oistrakh’s recording of the First Concerto it made an indelible impression on me," Milstein said. "The two concertos are extremely different and represent separate stages in Prokofiev’s life. The poetic, heavenly mood of the First Concerto is an invitation to a land of dreams. The second concerto sets an earnest and somber tone from the opening melody." BELOW: Maria Milstein talks about the album:
Completed in 1720, Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin are still considered the "violinists’ bible." David Grimal tackles the supreme masterpiece of the solo violin repertory for the third time, with his Stradivarius strung with pure gut strings and a Baroque bow by Nicolas Pierre Tourte (1740). BELOW: Bach Violin Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: V. Chaconne
If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.
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