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Dance Of Shadows / Roman Mints

Release Date: 06/10/2014 
Label:  Quartz Records   Catalog #: 2103   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Eugčne Ysa˙eAstor PiazzollaDobrinka TabakovaAlfred Schnittke,   ... 
Performer:  Roman Mints
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DANCE OF SHADOWS Roman Mints (vn, kolesnaya lira 1 ) QUARTZ 2103 (57:40)

YSAźE Violin Sonata, op. 27/2. PIAZZOLLA Tango-Etude No. 2. TABAKOVA 1 Spinning a Yarn. SCHNITTKE Read more class="ARIAL12bi">A Paganini. SILVESTROV Postlude No. 2

The recording techniques that Roman Mints discusses in his interview make his interpretation of the second of Ysaÿe’s six sonatas for solo violin like no other before it. The sudden shifts of perspective between the Bach quotations and Ysaÿe’s commentaries upon them bring the psychological drama to life with an immediacy that casts entirely new light on the music. Mints plays it very well, and his powerful and dramatic reading (in a sonorous acoustic) would command attention without the insight brought by his novel approach; he takes risks and is rewarded with a high charge of electricity. I was surprised to find how well the program segued into Piazzolla’s Tango-Étude No. 2—it’s a step, not a leap. Piazzolla begins hesitantly, as if finding his way forward after the demonic enthusiasms of the Ysaÿe, but gradually expands into an elegant and sober essay, concerned more with the expression of feeling than the terpsichorean or virtuosic elements suggested by the title. Indeed, at 10 minutes in length it’s both a substantial contribution to the modern solo violin repertoire and one of the best works of Piazzolla’s that I’ve heard.

The drones of the lira kolesnaya —hurdy-gurdy to you and me—in Dobrinka Tabakova’s Spinning a Yarn wrench us from Piazzolla’s smoky refinement to a world that’s more primitive, where the imagination has primacy over the intellect. It’s not a very eventful piece—the violin sings a Celtic-inflected line over the rocking patterns of the lira —but it falls very pleasantly on the ear, managing to be restful and unsettling at the same time.

As with Ysaÿe, Mints takes Schnittke by the scruff of the neck and gives A Paganini a performance which is refreshingly incautious—he’s plainly passionate about the music, and passion does not brook prudence. Some might find the playing lacking in the last degree of polish, but the rawness is a necessary part of the expression; the closing section is played with extraordinary fire. Again as with the Ysaÿe, the dialogue between Schnittke and Paganini is brought to striking life by Mints’s recording engineer, Maria Sobleva, the unexpected sense of place bringing another layer of meaning to the music.

The slow double-stopping at the outset of Silvestrov’s valedictory Postlude No. 2 recalls the hurdy-gurdy of Tabakova’s Spinning a Yarn , but it slows even further, the musical argument almost coming to a stop in an atmosphere of deep sadness, as if it is becoming too painful to carry on, with occasional pizzicato commenting on the haunted main line of the discourse. A second section recalls happier days but the desolate solo line and its haunting pizzicato return.

Mints proves himself a master storyteller as well as a superb violinist, and his engineering team have given him a recorded sound he can be proud of. The Quartz booklet is elegant, and generous with the annotations. An absolute winner of a CD, then, one that brings physical excitement and musical satisfaction in equal measure.

FANFARE: Martin Anderson
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Works on This Recording

Sonatas (6) for Violin solo, Op. 27: no 2 in A minor by Eugčne Ysa˙e
Performer:  Roman Mints (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1924; Belgium 
Etudes Tanguistiques (6) for Flute solo: no 2, Anxieux et rubato by Astor Piazzolla
Performer:  Roman Mints (Violin)
Spinning a Yarn by Dobrinka Tabakova
Performer:  Roman Mints (Violin)
A Paganini by Alfred Schnittke
Performer:  Roman Mints (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982; USSR 
Postlude for Violin solo by Valentin Silvestrov
Performer:  Roman Mints (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1981; Ukraine 

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