Notes and Editorial Reviews
OF THE HUNGARIAN AND JEWISH SOUL
Édua Zádory (vn); Anastasiia Dombrovska (pn)
GRAMOLA 98955 (57: 12)
Op. 121: No. 1, “Preghiera.”
class="ARIAL12bi">Lullaby. Dance Improvisation on a Hebrew Folksong
, Op. 37.
2 Mélodies hébraïques.
Violinist Édua Zádory and pianist Anastasiia Dombrovska have drawn on their own backgrounds to assemble a program of music celebrating their Eastern-European origins and culture. The first work on their program, however, the
, hails from the United States: a quasi-didactic composition by Chicago violinist and teacher George Perlman (I remember when teachers would comment that this young violinist or that one had been a Perlman student). The concertino, which may not be familiar to general listeners, falls into three movements, “Hora-Hatikvah,” “Nocturne,” and “Fantasie-Recitative.” Although the piece makes few technical demands on the violin soloist, it offers opportunities for tonal display, and Zádory, playing on an 1801 Joseph and Antonio Gagliano, makes a great deal of these in the first movement’s lyrical passages and the second’s plaintive melodiousness; the engineers have captured the richness of her sound, especially in the lower registers. Occasionally, she indulges in a slippery portamento, generally creating, however, an expressive rather than an anachronistic effect. On the whole, she plays this concertino with a dedication and intensity she might devote to a work by Ernest Bloch. Violinist Jenö Hubay wrote a series of
Scènes de la Csárda
for his instrument, enshrining in them popular tunes that might find their way into (or, as in this case, out of) the tavern. The Fifth of these,
(Waves of the Balaton), like the others, sparkles with virtuosic brilliance without really demanding the full range of a virtuoso’s technique; Zádory and Dombrovska create a great deal of excitement whatever the means they employ. In Joseph Achron’s
, they effectively shift to a reflective mood; and they play with rich loaminess in Fritz Kreisler’s arrangement of Johannes Brahms’s
No. 17. Hubay’s short
provides a simple interlude, simply stated—despite the agitation before its ending—before Achron’s briefer, but jubilant
Dance Improvisation on a Hebrew Folk Tune
, which they bring off with panache. Some, on the other hand, may feel that the pauses and dramatic contrasts the duo creates in Bloch’s popular
slip from impassioned ethnic advocacy into mannerism (both expressive and timbral)—and Zádory tends to sound a bit unsure in the climactic double-stops and octaves. Maurice Ravel’s
demand a different sensibility from the barn-burning fervor of many of the earlier works on the program; both Zádory and Dombrovska breathe this rarefied atmosphere as though it had been as formative an influence on them as the other works’ more flamboyant gestures.
The program comes to a close with two more barn burners. The first of these, the fourth of Hubay’s
, known as
, has become a chestnut; but Zádory adds a dollop of her own personality to the piece, which makes it a fresh, richly rewarding five-and-a-half-minute confection. The second, Franz Liszt’s
No. 2 (arranged by Lothar Windsperger) offers perhaps greater scope in its nearly nine minutes for making a wide variety of technical and tonal points, from the raucous to the refined (well, maybe not too refined). For those offended by the suggestion that music might be entertaining as well as edifying, and earthy as well as transcendent, this recital might miss the mark. For general listeners, however, it should be a great deal of fun—the musicians and, perhaps some of the crew, apparently thought so, too: They can be heard laughing at the end of the
. Generally, and mirthfully, recommended.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Works on This Recording
Six Pieces, Op. 121: 1. Preghiera by Jenö Hubay
Venue: 4Tune Studio, Vienna, Austria
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs.
Mélodies hébraďques (2) by Maurice Ravel
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1914-1919; France
Venue: 4Tune Studio, Vienna, Austria
Length: 5 Minutes 41 Secs.
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