Notes and Editorial Reviews
Violin Sonatas: in F,
Friederike Starkloff (vn); José Gallardo (pn)
OEHMS 756 (70:52)
Some CDs you just want to like even
before you open the jewel box. This is one of them, and the reason I like it so much is that violinist Friederike Starkloff is shown as a pretty but not tarted-up young woman, dressed modestly as befits an artist of her stature. It’s just so refreshing to see a female artist presented as such that I immediately liked her.
Fortunately, her artistry is every bit as warm, natural, and enticing as her appearance. She has that kind of lean, well-manicured violin tone that one used to associate with middle European violinists in days of yore (think of Szigeti or Szeryng), and her styling has the same kind of unaffected warmth and elegance. Born in Chemnitz in 1990, she was only 21 at the time of recording, but these are already mature readings of this music. I am also very impressed with the particular works she chose for this recital, as they show off various aspects of her playing. The Sonata in F, for instance, has a first movement that seems to consist almost entirely of rapidly bowed 16th notes for its entire duration, and Starkloff not only manages to play them cleanly but also to make them sound musical and interesting, not just a rapid technical exercise. Of course, she has a lot of competition in this sonata, among them such luminaries as Perlman, Szeryng, Balsam, Szigeti, Oistrakh, Mutter, and Sitkovetsky, but her firm-yet-gentle approach to the music holds its own. The B?-Sonata, on the other hand, showcases her elegant yet always firm-lined legato and wonderful sense of structure.
Indeed, it is Starkloff’s elegance and obvious affection for the music that shines through in each and every movement here, and she is very fortunately partnered by an outstanding young pianist, José Gallardo, whose subtle sense of dynamics and wonderful, long-lined phrasing matches Starkloff in each and every piece. Both players also know how to sparkle when needed, as for instance in the Presto of the A-Major Sonata. Even the fortuitous choice of the Kreisler transcription of the Rondo Allegretto from the “Haffner” Serenade acts, on this CD, as a sort of encore, in which Starkloff is both elegant and playful. I recommend this CD highly as my first experience with this hugely talented violinist!
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Works on This Recording
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