Notes and Editorial Reviews
7 POÉSIES POUR VIOLON ET PIANO
Ursula Bagdasarjanz (vn);
Melanie Di Cristino (vn);
Raluca Stirbat (pn);
Fernande Kaeser (pn);
Bruno F. Saladin (pn);
Luciano Sgrizzi (pn)
GALLO 1251, analog
class="ARIAL12"> (54:44) Live: 1964
Berceuse; Dracula; Gipsy-Romance; Caprice; Joie de vivre; Rêverie; Introduction et petite valse des Alpes.
Violin Sonata in B?,
Violin Sonata in F.
Violin Sonata in D:
The fourth volume in Gallo’s series devoted to the music and violin-playing of Swiss violinist Ursula Bagdasarjanz includes selections from works that can be found in their entirety in Volume 1 (Mozart and Nardini) and live performances of Handel and Paganini from 1964, interspersed with digital studio recordings from 2007 of Bagdasarjanz’s
from 2007 by the young violinist Melanie Di Cristino.
, for which the Swiss pianist Brigitta Meister wrote the piano accompaniments, hew close to the late Romantic style in evocations of highly varied moods, amounting to rather more than lightweight salon pieces. Melanie Di Cristino plays the “Berceuse” with a sort of breathy, portamento-laden Romanticism that seems a strong contrast to Bagdasarjanz’s grittier, more straightforward playing. The mood changes, however, in “Dracula,” with its obsessive repetitions of a jagged rhythmic motive. The “Gipsy-Romance” features familiar gestures and motives, not modal and dissonant as such melodies appear in Bartók’s works but tonal as in Hubay’s popular, tavern-inspired ones. Di Cristino makes its moodily rhapsodic gestures sound quasi-improvisational. The “Caprice” whimsically alternates sweet affects rather than serving as an etude-like technical tour de force. Di Cristino sounds least secure when she leaps from one string to another in the cadenza-like closing section; she also seems less settled in the technically difficult sections of “Joie de vivre,” especially in rapid position changes.
The program intersperses among these pieces the first movement from Bagdasarjanz’s soft-grained reading of Mozart’s Sonata, K 378, and the opening movement from her ornamented version of the opening Adagio from Nardini’s Sonata in D Major, both of which appeared in Volume I of Gallo’s collection. In addition, the program includes a complete performance of Handel’s (or someone else’s?) Sonata in F Major. Neither turgid nor stodgy, the performance exhibits the same qualities of elegant stylishness and strong, reedy tone that Bagdasarjanz demonstrated in the first volume of the series; some of the bracing effect of this Sonata may be due, in part, to Saladin’s sympathetic, discreet, and hardly Romanticized piano accompaniment (some that had currency a generation or so ago assigned octaves to the pianist’s left hand, creating an excessively heavy effect). The other live performance, of Paganini’s Sonata No. 12 from op. 3, seems to have evoked a strong response from the audience, though it’s neither as muscular as Ricci’s reading nor particularly suave in manner, as Paganini’s elegant sonatas for violin and guitar seemed to be.
The analog recordings, even the live ones interspersed among the digital ones, create little sense of timbral disjointedness; the violin appears close up in both, with the digital recordings actually sounding a bit less edgy. Since so few violinists have recently composed pieces like these, they should appeal to those who lament the disappearance of such repertoire in recitals and on recordings. Recommended for these and for the more traditional repertoire, which provides a series of snapshots of Bagdasarjanz as both violinist and composer.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham
Works on This Recording
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