SARASATE TRANSCRIPTIONS AND ARRANGEMENTS • Tianwa Yang (vn); Markus Hadulla (pn) • NAXOS 8.572709 (79:46)
MOSZKOWSKI Guitarra. CHOPIN Waltzes: No. 4 in F; No. 3 in a; No. 8 in A?. Nocturnes: No. 2 in E?; No. 8 in D. Souvenirs de Faust. GUIGNON Sonata No. 1: Allegro. Read more class="COMPOSER12">MONDONVILLE Sonata No. 5: “La Chasse.” LECLAIR Violin Sonata, op. 9/3: Sarabande; Tambourin. HANDEL Xerxes: Largo. SENAILLÉ Sonata No. 9: Allegro. BACH Suite in D, BWV 1068: Air. RAFF La fée d’amour
Joseph Gold’s reliably insightful and informative notes to Naxos’s fourth and final volume of Pablo Sarasate’s music for violin and piano—played again by Tianwa Yang and Markus Hadulla—distinguish Sarasate from the other violinist-composers who transcribed works for violin by stating that his transcriptions possessed genius. Whether violin aficionados will accept this claim—after all, Sarasate’s transcriptions haven’t held the stage as well as those by Fritz Kreisler and non-composer (in general) violinist Jascha Heifetz have. But with this release, those listeners will have a chance to evaluate the pieces for themselves.
Sarasate’s arrangement of Moritz Moszkowski’s Guitarre swirls and shoots off pizzicatos like sparks; and with Yang seeming to have been placed a bit farther back on the stage, she still makes a strong impression through her technical command, her rhythmic flexibility, and her sympathetic probing of the piece’s idiom. The set of Chopin’s pieces that follows begins with waltzes that Gold maintains he himself (Gold) published for the first time in 1982. The first, No. 4 in F Major, sparkles so brightly that listeners may wonder why the transcription didn’t enter immediately into violinists’ repertoires. Yang, taking a different tack, makes No. 3 in A Minor sound much darker. The last waltz, No. 8 in A?, reveals an even stronger-minded side of both Sarasate and Yang. But Yang plays the chromatic figures with liquid grace. Sarasate himself recorded the first of two nocturnes, the familiar one in E? Major; and though Yang’s playing may sound idiomatic in this recording, the comparison between her and the older violinist reveals how much less straightforward his reading seems, with unexpected expressive devices lurking at every turn, although Yang makes the piece convincing in her own right. The Nocturne in D? Major also seems convincing, though Yang doesn’t share Sarasate’s tonal palette in general, and plays its double stops with a rich fullness of tone that seems to inhabit a different timbral world from Sarasate’s own—except, perhaps, in the flashing runs in its last pages. The 11-odd-minute Souvenirs de Faust—another transcription, one with some thematic overlap and showcasing, except towards the end, less ostentatious virtuosity than Sarasate’s own Faust Fantasy—offers Yang an opportunity for displaying her stylistic panache rather than her technical facility, and she takes stunning advantage of that opportunity.
Transcriptions of movements from French Baroque sonatas follow, the first an opening Allegro from Jean-Pierre Guignon’s Violin Sonata No. 1, an arrangement (or a performance, perhaps?) that sparkles idiomatically—but did Sarasate or Guignon specify the final flourishes? Yang makes “La Chasse,” the third movement from a violin sonata by Jean-Joseph de Mondonville, tantalizingly energetic. There follows a pair of movements, a Sarabande and a Tambourin, from a popular violin sonata by Jean-Marie Leclair; those familiar with the original should find Sarasate’s arrangement, lightly accompanied, almost as if by continuo, sound closer to it than do many editions that students currently play. Hadulla and Yang sprint fleet-footedly through it.
Another work that sounds blessedly lighter in Sarasate’s transcription is the famous Largo from Handel’s Xerxes (“Ombra mai fu”), though Yang plays with a tone as thick as molasses in its lower registers. An Allegro from Jean-Baptiste Senaillé’s Violin Sonata No. 9 gives way to what Gold considers two of Sarasate’s favorite concert numbers. The Air from Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 3, in this case not entirely assigned to the G-string, is repeated in different octaves, a surprisingly effective expressive device which Yang sells easily to listeners. Gold identifies Joachim Raff’s La fée d’amour as “certainly” the violinist’s concert favorite. With its brilliant figuration in the upper registers, it could have been written for him—or maybe his transcription, replete with his signature harmonics, and Yang’s quicksilver performance, makes it sound that way.
This last volume of Sarasate’s works contains a mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar, but Yang makes everything sound fresh. For those who have enjoyed the first three volumes, this one makes the necessary complement and comes as strongly recommended in every way as did its predecessors (and the collection of works for violin and orchestra, too). And those listeners should not miss future Sarasate releases by both the formidable Yang and her accompanist, Hadulla.
La fée d'amour, Op. 67by Joachim Raff Performer:
Tianwa Yang (Violin),
Markus Hadulla (Piano)
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Lovely arrangements by Sarasate of well known pieMay 13, 2014By Warren Harris See All My Reviews"This disc consists of transcriptions and arrangements by Pablo Sarasate of well known works by Chopin, Gounod, Leclair, Handel, Raff, and others for Violin and Piano. The works themselves are played wonderfully by Ms. Yang and Mr. Hadulla, and it is obvious that they are enjoying what they are doing. The virtuosity required by Mr. Sarasates arrangements is appreciable, and these two handle it well. That being said, there are some pieces that at first are difficult to accept in this form. Several of the Chopin works are this way, in that the listener is so used to hearing them played by solo piano, and hearing part of the work played by piano and the other played by violin seems distractingly unusual. This feeling lessens on repeated listenings. However, Guignons Allegro from Sonata No. 1 is just delightful, and Handels Largo from Xerxes is gorgeous in this format. All in all, I very much enjoyed listening to this recording. Delightfully recommended!"Report Abuse