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Caprice Viennois

Auner
Release Date: 02/08/2011 
Label:  Gramola   Catalog #: 98885   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Fritz KreislerNiccolò PaganiniEugène YsaÿePablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Irina AunerDaniel Auner
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CAPRICE VIENNOIS Daniel Auner (vn); Irina Auner (pn) GRAMOLA 98885 (SACD: 57:55)


Music by KREISLER, PAGANINI, YSAŸE, SARASATE


At the International Violin Competition, “Violins in Dresden,” in 2008, Daniel Auner, as winner, received as one of his prizes the opportunity to record a program of his choice. Gramola’s release represents that choice: a dozen works by violinist-composers that might be described, variously, as salon pieces, miniatures, or simply Read more encores; all except Eugène Ysaÿe’s Third Solo Sonata fit pretty comfortably into any one—or all three—of those categories.


The program opens with Fritz Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro , often cited as the best of the violinist’s short pieces but one that he nevertheless never recorded. Carl Flesch recollected that Kreisler didn’t play the Allegro too quickly—only at about MM = 120 (according to Flesch, he “shaped” rather than “raced,” but that’s still lickety-split by most standards). Auner makes use of the Praeludium to display the beauty of his tone (he plays on a 1740 Viennese Johann Christoph Leidolff violin that seems powerful enough for what he wants to do in this program as he’s recorded it). He doesn’t hurry through the Allegro ; in fact, he pauses rather deliberately at the notes near the beginning of the cadenza that suggest the approaching pedal. Nicolò Paganini’s familiar Cantabile follows, and Auner takes it rather slowly as well. The highlight: a well-judged and expressive portamento into the highest register. Then the fireworks begin, with Paganini’s 17th Caprice, which Auner plays cleanly—but expressively, too—in the outer sections. Whether or not Paganini himself knew the technique (his hands and facility probably sufficed without it), violinists nowadays play the middle of this caprice in fingered octaves (a way of alternating fingers to achieve greater cleanliness, a technical device said by Joseph Szigeti to have been introduced by August Wilhelmj). Auner’s intonation in this section compares with the best.


In Ysaÿe’s haunting Rève d’enfant , Auner seems to be even more in his element; he displays an affinity for its surging, slithering lines, which he plays with an appropriately wide range of timbres. Kreisler’s Tambourin chinois , tangy, strongly accented, and incisively rhythmic, represents a strong contrast, both in conception and in Auner’s execution. Ysaÿe’s sonata, dedicated to George Enescu, in sixth place, falls pretty close to the center of the program’s duration; as the recital’s most serious work, it serves as its anchor and center of gravity as well. David Oistrakh used to play this sonata, but although he brought to it a warmth that resembled fiery heat, he didn’t seem to me to delve very deeply into the piece’s mysterious expressivity. Auner does, but he’s exceptionally playful in the middle section as well.


Nathan Milstein used to play Pablo de Sarasate’s Romanza andaluza with breathtaking dash and aplomb; Sarasate’s own performances of his works, recorded in as early as 1898, but mostly in 1904, reveal a less driven, brighter approach. Auner doesn’t sound like either: He’s lush and ardent, though propulsive enough in the sections in double-stops. Kreisler’s Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice served the composer as a tribute to Ysaÿe, who would in turn dedicate his Fourth Solo Sonata to Kreisler. Zino Francescatti, who played the little showpiece with dapper authority, sped through the Recitativo , but Jaime Laredo took it more slowly, as a sort of ritual incantation, a manner that serves the music very well, as it does in Auner’s performance. And he appropriately—and effectively—mixes skittishness with chordal declamation (capriciousness, I guess) in the finale’s fireworks. Kreisler’s Variations on a Theme of Corelli (a digest of Giuseppe Tartini’s more extended set, translated by the later master into the popular Viennese idiom) provides Auner an opportunity for stylized virtuosity. He imparts to the final, chordal variation especially heavy weight and solemnity (others, like David Oistrakh, rush through it).


Paganini’s 24th Caprice serves as a compendium of his technical armamentarium, but it doesn’t represent the apogee of difficulty in the set of caprices (or elsewhere; other sets of his variations pose less tractable challenges). Auner’s reading showcases his ability to transmute base metal (technically if not musically) into gold. He finds nostalgic charm effortlessly in Kreisler’s Caprice viennois and drives forward through Sarasate’s showpiece, Introduction and Tarantella.


Remember the brouhaha when Eugene Fodor, winner in the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1974, released an album of encores? Critics seemed to want sonatas. But Auner is more relaxed, less edgy than Fodor in this literature. One of the first LPs my family acquired, a collection of short pieces played by Norman Carol, who would later become concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, received a somewhat dismissive reception in one of the period’s review magazines. But nobody should dismiss Auner’s similar collection so easily; it’s genial and consistently interesting from beginning to end. This kind of performance makes me want to get out my instrument and play through the program, and reminds me how appealing these pieces can be. Gramola’s recorded sound balances the performers close up; Irina Auner provides alert support. Warmly recommended to collectors of this repertoire.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Praeludium and Allegro in the style of Pugnani by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Irina Auner (Piano), Daniel Auner (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 14 Secs. 
2.
Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 17 in E flat major by Niccolò Paganini
Performer:  Daniel Auner (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
3.
Rève d'enfant by Eugène Ysaÿe
Performer:  Irina Auner (Piano), Daniel Auner (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1902; Belgium 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
4.
Tambourin chinois, Op. 3 by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Daniel Auner (Violin), Irina Auner (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
5.
Sonatas (6) for Violin solo, Op. 27: no 3 in D minor "Ballade" by Eugène Ysaÿe
Performer:  Daniel Auner (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1924; Belgium 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 20 Secs. 
6.
Spanish Dances (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 22: no 1, Romanza andaluza by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Daniel Auner (Violin), Irina Auner (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 36 Secs. 
7.
Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice for Violin solo, Op. 6 by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Daniel Auner (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Austria 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
8.
Variations on a Theme of Corelli, for violin & piano by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Daniel Auner (Violin), Irina Auner (Piano)
Period: Post-Romantic 
Written: by 1910; Austria 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
9.
Caprices (24) for Violin solo, Op. 1: no 24 in A minor by Niccolò Paganini
Performer:  Daniel Auner (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1805; Italy 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 2 Secs. 
10.
Caprice viennois, Op. 2 by Fritz Kreisler
Performer:  Irina Auner (Piano), Daniel Auner (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
11.
Introduction and Tarantella, Op. 43 by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Irina Auner (Piano), Daniel Auner (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
12.
Cantabile for Violin and Piano in D major by Niccolò Paganini
Performer:  Daniel Auner (Violin), Irina Auner (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1824; Italy 
Venue:  MDR Studios, Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 

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