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Feminissimo! Women Playing Music By Women


Release Date: 12/09/2008 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1081   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Meira WarshauerGrazyna BacewiczFlorence Beatrice PriceSigne Lund,   ... 
Performer:  Laura KobayashiSusan Keith Gray
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



FEMINISSIMO! WOMEN PLAYING MUSIC BY WOMEN Laura Kobayashi (vn); Susan Keith Gray (pn) ALBANY TROY 1081 (71:48)


WARSHAUER Bracha. BACEWICZ Violin Sonata No. 3. PRICE The Deserted Garden. LUND Barcarolle, op. 33/1. RISHER Read more class="ARIAL12bi">Mazurka brillante. DIEMER Before Spring. VIARDOT-GARCIA 6 morceaux. KÁPRÁLOVÁ Elegie. FÁBREGAS Violin Sonata No. 1


Laura Kobayashi and Susan Keith Gray’s program of music written by women (including first recordings of the works by Lund, Risher, Diemer, and Fábregas) begins with a short piece by Meira Warshauer (b. 1949), Bracha (“Blessing”), expressing, according to the notes, the idea of blessing flowing to earth then back. It begins with a passage for solo violin; and, in fact, solo passages alternate throughout with accompanied ones, all in a highly accessible tonal style. Kobayashi plays the piece’s plaintive melodic lines with a strong, rich sound, and the engineers have placed her, along with pianist Gray, in a reverberant ambiance. Gra?yna Bacewicz (1909–1969) established her reputation in the middle of the 20th century as a violinist and composer, and her brief, highly attractive Third Sonata (1947), its harmonies tonal and its melodies, suggestively nuanced in the first movement and leaping in the slow second one, ought to appeal to violinists in search of idiomatic repertoire. The third movement, a Scherzo, bites sharply with Prokofiev’s bitter acerbity, while the Andante finale returns to the more disjointed melodic style of the slow movement, blending it with some of the Scherzo’s astringency, and rises to dramatic rhetoric at its climax before the end.


The duo represents Florence Price (1888–1953), an earlier, black, composer who studied with Chadwick and Converse, in a hymn-like miniature, The Deserted Garden, replete with nostalgic melodic and harmonic gestures. The Barcarolle by Signe Lund (1868–1950), written, according to the notes, for piano and either violin or flute, sounds particularly suggestive in the duo’s emotionally resonant performance, laced with Grieg-like sensitivity. Anna Priscilla Risher (1873–1945), according to the notes, studied at the New England Conservatory and worked in Pennsylvania before moving to California. The duo plays her Mazurka at a tempo that smolders more often than it bursts into flame. Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927), again according to the notes, studied at Yale and Eastman. Her roughly nine-and-a-half-minute work, Before Spring, travels through a much vaster harmonic landscape than do the compositions that precede it on the program.


The six pieces (Romance, Bohémienne, Berceuse, Mazourke, Vielle chanson, and Tarantelle) by Pauline Viardot-Garcia (the earliest composer on the program, 1821–1910), which she dedicated, according to the notes, to her son, violinist Paul Viardot, return to more familiar harmonic terrain, to a more straightforward melodic style, and to singing violinistic expressivity. These character pieces seem to make few demands, beyond stylistic ones, on the violinist—and, unvaryingly both ingratiating and gracious, perhaps even fewer on the listener. Víteslava Káprálova (1915–1940), daughter of Czech composer Václav Kápral and student of Martin?, died of tuberculosis. Her Elegie, one of the most richly expressive pieces in the collection, gives an all-too-brief glimpse of the composer’s ardent melodic and varied harmonic style. The roughly 10-minute Sonata by Elisenda Fábregas (b. 1955) opens with a bracing, toccata-like Allegro before settling into a more diffuse Elegie and concluding with a driving finale.


Kobayashi and Gray successfully span the variety of styles the program offers, playing the older, drawing-room pieces with glowing sound and moist sensibility and slashing sharply in the more modern ones. Recommended more widely than to those who simply wish to explore music written by women.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1. Bracha by Meira Warshauer
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
2. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 by Grazyna Bacewicz
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; Poland 
3. Deserted Garden by Florence Beatrice Price
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
4. Barcarolle, Op. 33 no 1 by Signe Lund
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
5. Before spring by Emma Lou Diemer
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
6. Morceaux (6) for Violin and Piano by Pauline Viardot-Garcia
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
7. Elegie by Vítezslava Kaprálová
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
8. Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 by Elisenda Fábregas
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
9. Mazurka brillante by Anna Priscilla Risher
Performer:  Laura Kobayashi (Violin), Susan Keith Gray (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Bracha (Blessing)
Violin Sonata No. 3: I. Allegro moderato
Violin Sonata No. 3: II. Adagio
Violin Sonata No. 3: III. Scherzo: Vivo
Violin Sonata No. 3: IV. Finale: Andante
The deserted garden
Barcarolle et chanson, Op. 33
Mazurka Brillante
Before Spring
6 Morceaux: No. 1. Romance
6 Morceaux: No. 2. Bohemienne
6 Morceaux: No. 3. Berceuse
6 Morceaux: No. 4. Mazourke
6 Morceaux: No. 5. Vicille Chanson
6 Morceaux: No. 6. Tarantelle
Elegie
Violin Sonata No. 1: I. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 1: II. Elegy: Largo
Violin Sonata No. 1: III. Chase: Allegro

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