This is a lovely recital of largely reflective, lyrical music for violin and piano, including works by five living composers that yield nothing to the (relatively speaking) "classics" with which they are coupled. The program opens with Astor Piazzolla's lovely Tanti Anni Prima ("Many Years Ago"), and continues with Lera Auerbach's wistful Postlude. Gerald Finzi might seem a strange discmate, but his Elegy for violin and piano fits perfectly in this company, as does Zoltan Kodály's Adagio, here in its original version (it's popular as a cello piece as well).
Argentine composer Fernando Egozcue's Agua y Vino, here transcribed for violin and piano, has great freshness and charm, while Canadian composerRead more Marjan Mozetich's Desire and Twilight may have a slightly tacky title, but the music itself is melodically very beautiful.
The major work here is Jorge Grundman's Violin Sonata ("What Inspires Poetry"), in three movements variously subtitled "Loneliness and Nostalgia", "Calm and Serenity," and "Rain and Storm". Composed for this compilation and these performers, the piece is predominantly gentle, even the storm segment--but like the remainder of the works here, its unabashed lyricism and frank celebration of melody makes for an unfailingly enjoyable 15 minutes of listening.
The program closes with a smile: Elena Kats-Chemin's Russian Rag, a piece that certainly lives up to its title. Violinist Ara Malikian "dirties up" his tone a bit more than necessary here, but otherwise he and partner Daniel Del Piano play all of this music expertly, elegantly, and with just the right kind of restrained passion. Collections like this often come across as a kind of hodge-podge of unrelated bits, but this well-engineered program actually works very well for continuous, relaxing (but never dull) listening.