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Sarasate: Music For Violin & Orchestra, Vol 2 / Yang, Martinez Izquierdo

Sarasate / Yang / Orq Sinf De Navarra / Izquierdo
Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8572216   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Tianwa Yang
Conductor:  Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Navarra Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


You're going to love this one. Now I have to confess, I'm not normally a fan of the virtuoso violin school--heck, of any violin school. Sarasate has a big advantage, though: he's working with great tunes. Who doesn't love Carmen? Or the bel canto sexiness of Romeo and Juliet? Canciones rusas contains the theme that became famous as the "Wet Nurses' Dance" in Stravinsky's Petrushka (Balakirev also used it). La chasse is remarkably atmospheric and poetic, the Jota de Pablo a celebration of the composer's Spanish heritage. Okay, El canto del ruiseñor (The Song of the Nightingale) is one of those chirpy bird things that makes you want to throw the little critter down some
Read more oxygen-depleted Chilean mine shaft, but there are worse ways to go than death by chronic cuteness.

Tianwa Yang is a sensationally talented young violinist. She has technique to burn. Her harmonics (and there are a lot of them) dazzle with their precision and lack of "hissiness"; her left-hand pizzicatos, special bowing effects, runs, and arpeggios fit naturally within a phrase rather than sticking out like the gaudy banners on a parade float. Best of all, she has a beautiful tone in cantabile phrases (check out the Romeo and Juliet fantasy) and a really seductive way with rubato that conveys emotion without distorting the rhythm. Splendidly accompanied by Ernest Izquierdo and his Navarra players, this is a youthful, vibrant collection that just may change your mind about the virtuoso violin repertoire.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

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SARASATE Carmen Fantasy. Concert Fantasy on Romeo and Juliet. Canciones rusas. El canto del ruiseñor. La chasse. Jota de Pablo Tianwa Yang (vn); Ernest Martínez Izquierdo, cond; Navarra SO NAXOS 8.572216 (58:22)


The second volume of Naxos’s series of CDs devoted to Pablo Sarasate’s music for violin and orchestra includes two operatic fantasies ( Carmen and Romeo and Juliet ) as well as four shorter works. Tianwa Yang has already recorded three CDs in the series (the first volume, accompanied by orchestra, Naxos 8.572191, Fanfare , 33:5, included the evergreen Zigeunerweisen , while Naxos 8.557767, Fanfare 30:4, and Naxos 8.570094, Fanfare 31:5, offered a series of shorter works with pianist Markus Hadulla). In this one she plays with the same razor-sharp technique and tonal elegance that characterized the others. In fact, she demonstrates that the Carmen Fantasy isn’t so familiar that it can’t still pump adrenaline. Her stupendous technical facility makes the closing pages into a tour de force that challenges even Heifetz’s hegemony, which he established at the outset of his career in his recording from 1924. But throughout, she’s an ostensive definition of an oxymoron, seductively chaste. The Fantasy on Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet , on the other hand, provides opportunities for tonal splendor on the G string, and while she’s alluring, many may feel that the tone she produces lacks flexibility in lyrical passages’ lower registers. In 30:4, I described the effect of her playing as being “like first love” and I recommended that recording and the second, 8.570094, with some urgency, “to anyone who can recognize the sound of a violin.” I wouldn’t retract any of that seeming hyperbole—the purity of her intonation (as at the end of the Fantasy on Gounod), the almost amazing cleanliness of her technique, and the laser-like focus of her tone would forbid it. Of course, she doesn’t sound like Sarasate any more than his Russian-trained later interpreters do. Although he didn’t record his Canciones rusas , for example, it’s doubtful whether he would—or perhaps could—have played its somber opening with such pulsating melancholy. Ricci doesn’t in his collection of Sarasate’s music on Dynamic CDS 94 (although with piano). Yang’s playing of the concluding page, mixing sparkle and drive, sounds less brittle than Ricci’s.


Gil Shaham included the Song of the Nightingale in his collection of Sarasate’s music (Canary 07); so did Ricci, with piano, in his. Some of Yang’s arpeggios remind me of the sound of Sarasate playing similar passages in his own Habanera. La Chasse resurrects an old genre, many examples of which can be found in Jean-Baptiste Cartier’s L’Art du violon from 1798, pieces that Kreisler mimicked in his own composition by that name. But Sarasate’s, at 8:50, begins more expansively, with a darker introduction, before plunging into a hunting motive that Joseph Gold’s notes compare to the theme of the finale of Glazunov’s concerto—although that resemblance seems to be fleeting. Yang switches adroitly between the quasi-martial sections and the softer, more lyrical one with which they alternate. Jota de Pablo also appears in Ricci’s collection; he plays the fastest passages with a headlong energy that tends to compress rapid notes into a jumble, and gets through the piece almost a minute and a half (or about 25 percent) faster than Yang does; on the other hand, he’s more vibrant, though not so wheedling or cajoling, in the slower sections. Overall, Ricci raises goosebumps, as he often does in Sarasate’s music, and Yang, for all her brilliance, just doesn’t achieve that kind of visceral effect.


I reviewed a complete collection of Sarasate’s works (by violinists Gabriel Croitoru and Manuel Guillén Navarro, with Jacques Bodmer conducting the Málaga Orchestra, Regis 010/1/2/3, in Fanfare 19:6), and another has appeared with violinist Angel Jesús Garcia and Miquel Ortega, conducting the Pablo Sarasate Orchestra, Volumes 1 and 2 on RTVE 65042 and 65063. But Yang rises above her competition in the unfamiliar short pieces and challenges the finest violinists who have attempted, say, the popular Carmen Fantasy . Naxos’s recorded sound places her in front of the orchestra, but who’s complaining? Urgently recommended.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1. Carmen Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra/Piano, Op. 25 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Tianwa Yang (Violin)
Conductor:  Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Navarra Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1883 
2. Concert Fantasy on Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet," Op. 5 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Tianwa Yang (Violin)
Conductor:  Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Navarra Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
3. Chanson russe, Op. 49 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Tianwa Yang (Violin)
Conductor:  Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Navarra Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
4. El canto del ruiseñor, Op. 29 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Tianwa Yang (Violin)
Conductor:  Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Navarra Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885 
5. La chasse, Op. 44 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Tianwa Yang (Violin)
Conductor:  Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Navarra Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
6. Jota de Pablo, Op. 52 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Tianwa Yang (Violin)
Conductor:  Ernest Martínez Izquierdo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Navarra Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 

Sound Samples

Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25: I. Introduction: Allegro moderato
Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25: II. Moderato
Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25: III. Lento assai
Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25: IV. Allegro moderato
Carmen Fantasy, Op. 25: V. Moderato - Animato
Concert Fantasy on Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, Op. 5
Chansons russes (Canciones rusas), Op. 49 (version for violin and orchestra)
El canto del ruisenor, Op. 29 (version for violin and orchestra)
La chasse, Op. 44
Jota de Pablo, Op. 52 (version for violin and orchestra)

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