Notes and Editorial Reviews
According to this release's booklet notes, violinist Julia Fischer learned and recorded Paganini's Op. 1 Caprices in a matter of months. Yet these 24 pieces appear to have been pretty well digested and absorbed in Fischer's mind, fingers, and bloodstream as she consistently uncovers the music beneath the virtuosic surface. You hear this in how she stresses the lowest string's implied "bass lines" by way of crescendos in No. 1, in No. 2's subtle melodic color changes, and in the specific yet discreet applications of portamento and vibrato with which she imbues No. 3's octaves.
The latter holds true for No. 4's slow, sustained chords, although Fischer seems a little too laid back over No. 5's rapid arpeggios next to
James Ehnes' rhythmic vibrancy and decisive accentuation. Fischer acknowledges that some listeners may be taken aback by her decision to play No. 6 with the mute, yet the veiled sonority adds an appropriately spooky aura to the music's relentless trilled chords. No. 24's pizzicato variation also sounds fuller and more resonant than most overly fast, percussive renditions.
Only in very few instances does Fischer appear to strain, such as in No. 19's wide leaps between low double stops and high-lying single notes (Perlman nailed these like nobody's business). While Ehnes' power and authority remain reference material, Fischer's solid command and thoughtful musicianship deserve serious attention.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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