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Songs For A Lonely Heart / Emanuel Borok, Cullan Bryant

Borok,Emanuel
Release Date: 07/07/2010 
Label:  Eroica Classical Recordings   Catalog #: 3448   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Christoph W. GluckSergei RachmaninovJules MassenetRichard Wagner,   ... 
Performer:  Emanuel BorokCullan Bryant
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SONGS FOR A LONELY HEART Emanuel Borok (vn); Cullan Bryant (pn) EROICA 3448 (60:35)


GLUCK Melody. RACHMANINOFF Romance. MASSENET Thaïs: Meditation. WAGNER Albumblatt. ELGAR Salut d’Amour. Read more SARASATE Romanza Andaluza. BRAHMS Contemplation. PAGANINI Cantabile. PONCE Estrelita. SUK Love Song. KREISLER Liebesleid. Liebesfreud. SCHUMANN Intermezzo. GODARD Violin Concerto: Canzonetta. TCHAIKOVSKY None but the Lonely Heart. GARDEL Por una Cabeza. R. STRAUSS Daphne


In his booklet notes, Emanuel Borok recalls an era when encores (in the plural) formed an important part of every program. He’s assembled 17 such pieces in a collection consisting mostly of pieces that moan rather than sparkle and that include a great number of chestnuts; very few of these pieces will be unfamiliar to aficionados.


Nathan Milstein and Jascha Heifetz (as well as Fritz Kreisler, who arranged it) used to play Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Melody; their performances shared something with Borok’s—they pressed forward from note to note rather than languishing in the moment, as so many younger players do. The same’s true in Borok’s reading of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s lush Romance, which the composer actually wrote for the violin. Although Borok occasionally sounds a bit rough in the double-stopped sections, he knows how to capture a listener’s interest and hold it; the vibrant tone of the 1608 Brothers Amati violin on which he plays reinforces the vibrancy of his playing. Jules Massenet’s Meditation from Thaïs may be the single most often requested composition in the violin repertoire, and Borok plays it as though it deserves its acclaim—hushed at the beginning and rising to impassioned declamation in the middle section, the whole thing oiled with some well-calibrated portamentos (I’ve heard quite a few young players in this piece in televised appearances, and none of them have made of it such a logical whole as Borok does). August Wilhelmj’s arrangement of Richard Wagner’s Albumblatt used to be more frequently heard, and Borok’s version makes it seem sad that it isn’t any longer. (None of these short works, including Edward Elgar’s Salut d’Amour , which follows, require great technical command.) Pablo de Sarasate’s Romanza Andaluza , one of the repertoire’s chestnuts, not only gives Borok (and pianist Cullan Bryant) an opportunity to create a darker atmosphere (surely darker than any I’ve heard in Sarasate’s own playing, as recorded in his later years) but also allows him to knock a few arrows from his technical quiver. Heifetz usually crafted his arrangements meticulously, sometimes creating versions more effective than the originals from which he derived them. In any case, his arrangement of Contemplation , simpler than many others, proves no exception, but it owes part of its impact to Borok and Bryant. Niccolò Paganini wrote his Cantabile for violin and guitar, but the two Bs play it effectively and without exaggeration. Manuel Ponce’s Estrelita almost became Heifetz’s calling card, but Borok’s version sounds nearly as suave and stylish. Jaroslav Kocian’s arrangement of Josef Suk’s Love Song recalls several other older violinists, notably David Oistrakh; Borok brings Oistrakh’s intensity to the piece, but he and Bryant give the impression of even greater urgency.


I’ve remarked many times that not all the great violinists have played Kreisler’s miniatures sympathetically. Borok re-creates the bittersweet sense of Liebesleid and captures some of the incisiveness of Zino Francescatti’s reading of Liebesfreud , although his double-stops in general, though sonorous, don’t sound so fastidious. The two Bs create a surge in Robert Schumann’s Intermezzo and a piquancy in the Canzonetta from Benjamin Godard’s Concerto romantique that almost (at least until the end) matches Aaron Rosand’s in his recording of the concerto with orchestra (here’s an encore that certainly deserves to be very frequently heard). If Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s None but the Lonely Heart could serve as the theme song for the entire recital, Borok’s reading doesn’t tug at the heartstrings so strongly as did Isaac Stern’s. Carlos Gardel’s tango, like Sarasate’s Romanza , raises the recital’s temperature, and Richard Strauss’s Daphne brings the program to a quiet conclusion. Throughout, the recorded sound captures both violin and piano close up though well balanced.


The art of the miniature has almost died, due perhaps to an overemphasis in conservatories on substance at the expense of style (I don’t remember any of my schoolmates, even in the ’60s, playing a single number on this program, or any of the myriad similar programs that might be constructed). And perhaps it’s just as well, if the performances of them would be as bland as so many I’ve heard in the last three decades. So for those who might be inclined to avoid Borok’s recording, fearing that it might be either unstylistic or a treacly Rieu-like pastiche, I have a word of advice: don’t. Enthusiastically recommended for all listeners.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Orfeo ed Euridice: Dance of the Blessed Spirits by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1762/1774; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Pieces (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 6: no 1, Romanze by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
3.
Thaïs: Meditation by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
4.
Albumblatt for Piano by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
5.
Salut d'amour, Op. 12 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888/1889; England 
6.
Spanish Dances (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 22: no 1, Romanza andaluza by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879 
7.
Songs (5), Op. 105: no 1, Wie Melodien zieht es mir by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
8.
Cantabile for Violin and Piano in D major by Niccolò Paganini
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1824 
9.
Estrellita by Manuel Ponce
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Mexico 
10.
Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 7: no 1, Love Song by Josef Suk
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891-1893; Prague, Czech Republ 
11.
Transcription of Kreisler's "Liebesfreud" for piano by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: 1921; Austria 
12.
Liebesleid by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
13.
Liederkreis, Op. 39: no 2, Intermezzo by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
14.
Concerto for Violin, Op. 35 "Romantique": 3rd movement, Canzonetta by Benjamin Godard
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; France 
15.
Songs (6), Op. 6: no 6, None but the lonely heart by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Russia 
16.
Por una cabeza by Carlos Gardel
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; Argentina 
17.
Daphne, Op. 82: Excerpt(s) by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Emanuel Borok (Violin), Cullan Bryant (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1936-1937; Germany 

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