Notes and Editorial Reviews
Violin Sonata No. 6.
Liv Migdal (vn); Marian Migdal (pn)
ARS 38145 (SACD: 70:01)
“Liv Migdal is considered one of the outstanding violinists of her generation.” So begin the trite liner notes for this disc. Well, gee whiz, Mr. Science, what other generation could she possibly belong to? And don’t we read this about
violinist/pianist/conductor/bagpiper a record company is promoting?
All of which is not meant to dissuade the listener from exploring Migdal or her father, pianist Marian Migdal (her listing on de.wikipedia.org states that she is “a subsidiary of the Hamburg piano professor Marian Migdal.” How about that?), both of whom are fine artists, only that the specific form and language of modern-day promotion has become almost mind-bogglingly trite.
As it turns out, Liv Migdal has a lovely tone with a very tight, even, almost shimmering vibrato, and she plays with tremendous elegance and a good line. Her father is an excellent accompanist (this is my first hearing of either of them). Together they give a good account of the Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 6, although I felt that the SACD sonics were not merely wasted on a violin-piano duo but actually detrimental to the clarity of sound. Too much space and “softness” around the instruments dull their brilliance in the upper register. I suppose this is what the young people like in classical records nowadays. Nevertheless, the Migdal duo really sparkles in the final
Allegretto con variazioni.
The Migdals’ performance of the Debussy Sonata is, perhaps, better suited to the sonics or vice-versa, as the work calls for almost as much nuance and creamy tone as it does bite and sparkle. I liked this version as much as the recording by Ani Kavafian and Anne-Marie McDermott, but not quite as much as the one by Maria Bachmann and Adam Neiman on Bridge. It’s a fine reading, and Liv Migdal does some wonderful things with the music.
In a certain sense, however, their performance of the Strauss Sonata may be the gem of this record. Marian Migdal’s piano accompaniment is not merely incisive but rhythmically acute and powerful, leading Liv Migdal’s violin through one of the most poetic yet impassioned readings of this sonata I’ve ever heard. The pair match each other attack for attack and nuance for nuance here, and the end result is not merely satisfying but a rich and well-contoured performance that is, in its own way, unique.
A fine disc, then, despite my misgivings on the sonics. I certainly wish Migdal well and will look forward to any new releases with her name on them.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Works on This Recording
Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor by Claude Debussy
Marian Migdal (Piano),
Liv Migdal (Violin)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1916-1917; France
Venue: Immanuelskirche Wuppertal
Length: 15 Minutes 28 Secs.
Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1: I. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1: II. Adagio molto espressivo
Violin Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1: III. Allegretto con variazioni
Violin Sonata in G Minor: I. Allegro vivo
Violin Sonata in G Minor: II. Intermede: Fantastique et leger
Violin Sonata in G Minor: III. Finale: Tres anime
Violin Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 18, TrV 151: I. Allegro ma non troppo
Violin Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 18, TrV 151: II. Improvisation: Andante cantabile
Violin Sonata in E-Flat Major, Op. 18, TrV 151: III. Finale: Andante - Allegro
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