Notes and Editorial Reviews
ORIGINAL MUSIC FOR VIOLIN AND GUITAR
Gilles Colliard (vn); Agustín Maruri (gtr)
EMEC 041 (70:38)
Tema con Variazioni,
The “original music for violin and guitar” in the program assembled by violinist Gilles Colliard and guitarist Augustín Maruri all comes from early 19th century, and is described on the jewel case as premiere recordings. Josef Mayseder’s two polonaises (according to the notes, the second and third of the compositions he wrote in the genre) recall the many works Paganini wrote for the combination; but Paganini’s sonatas call more for an elegant manner than a crisp virtuosity. Perhaps it’s a tribute to Colliard’s command that he makes the first of these two dances sound almost extravagantly extroverted and brilliant. The notes relate that Mayseder wrote the Polonaise, op. 4, for a performance he gave with Mauro Giuliani, who isn’t represented on the program. The notes identify the collaborator in the Polonaise, op. 12, as Anton Diabelli (Giuliani had helped Mayseder with the guitar part of the earlier polonaise). The piece raises the virtuoso excitement of op. 4 to fever pitch in both instruments, at least in this reading: Colliard and Maruri push its tempo forward, creating a sense of breathtaking excitement, not the least through its soaring flights into the violin’s stratosphere. In Heinrich Alois Prager’s Theme and Variations, op. 26 (he’s listed as Enrico Praeger on the title page), the flowing theme gives way to patterned variations similar to those Tartini provided for Corelli’s Gavotte, but in this case employing wider-ranging harmonies. These make a brilliant effect (in both parts) here, but would also enhance recital programs or (like Tartini’s work) serve advanced students for the study of style as well as of technique. The variations by “V. Kraus” (nothing more is given about him, apparently, even by François-Joseph Fétis) may be built on a simple theme (it sounds a bit like
), but the variations themselves fire off one captivating salvo after another of virtuoso fireworks (one sounding for all the world like Paganini’s famous
). Colliard brings to this piece all the brilliance it requires to make its technical point, and perhaps its musical one as well.
The rest of the program comprises three-movement duos by Victor Magnien (opp. 5 and 6) and Bartolomeo Bortolazzi. The notes relate that Magnien studied the violin with Rudolphe Kreutzer; and his violin part reflects a more restrained style of writing for the instrument, although it climbs into the higher registers (so, however, did Kreutzer’s later studies, published by Carl Flesch). Colliard characterizes each of the contrasting variations in the slow movement of the Duo, op. 5. The last movement, a polonaise, serves as an example of the pervasiveness of this dance rhythm in the period’s finales. The opening movement of op. 6 returns to the salon-like manner of Magnien’s earlier duo, while the brief Minuetto features some harmonic twists that Colliard and Maruri underline. The work concludes with a slow introduction, which begins with the violin accompanying the guitar as it might in a contemporary sonata for piano and violin. Colliard soon assumes the melodic lead, which he then effectively trades back and forth. The movement is long on sensibility, at least in this section. The Rondo proper also features chamber-like dialogue between the instruments, in which Colliard and Maruri engage with appealing intimacy. The notes refer to Bortolazzi’s Duo as a divertimento in the style of Mozart, and some figures reminiscent of the earlier composer do, in fact, appear scattered throughout the first movement—and the second, as well. Colliard and Maruri bring a Romantic tint to the elegant melodies of the central
; and the brief finale features a theme with cocky double-stops that the duo characterizes sharply. Mozart once again seems to peer impudently from behind the melodic style.
As did his sets of caprices by Louis Gabriel Guillemain, Colliard recorded this program in the Church of St. Eufemia in Palencia; and its ambiance allowed the engineers to surround the duo’s sound with unobtrusive reverberation enhancing their performance. For the program, the performances, and that recorded sound, Colliard’s and Maruri’s recital deserves a strong recommendation.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Works on This Recording
Variations for violin & guitar by V. Kraus
Agustín Maruri (Guitar),
Gilles Colliard (Violin)
Venue: Santa Eufemia de Cozollos, Olmos de Ojed
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