Notes and Editorial Reviews
When it comes to Grieg's C minor sonata, there's no such thing as kid-glove treatment by violinist Kai Gleusteen and pianist Catherine Ordronneau. They take the first movement's Allegro molto ed appassionato marking on faith, underlining the music's inherent passion and vitality with controlled freedom and a wide dynamic range. Gleusteen's tone is not particularly pretty, and sometimes it loses intonational focus, yet his pointed phrasing keeps Grieg's lovely melodies afloat and alive, especially in the slow movement.
Both Gleusteen and Ordronneau perfectly gauge the upbeat, rustic flavor of the Native American-tinged tunes prevailing throughout Dvorák's Sonatina. The performance's special qualities further hit home
when you compare it to Itzhak Perlman's heavier, "one vibrato size fits all" interpretation on EMI. I can accept the Crear Arts Center's dry, bass-heavy, and slightly murky sonics in the Grieg and Dvorák, yet I feel they work to Franck's disadvantage in his thickly scored, harmonically elaborate Violin Sonata. There's no question that Gleusteen and Ordronneau have mastered the music's large-scaled demands, especially in the second and fourth movements, yet the lighter, more transparent textures and rhythmic pliability that Oistrakh/Richter, Chang/Vogt, and yes, Perlman (Ashkenazy or Argerich) bring to this piece ultimately leave more lasting impressions. I should mention Avie's excellent booklet notes, attractive graphics, and tasteful photos.
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, M 8 by César Franck
Cathérine Ordronneau (Piano),
Kai Gleusteen (Violin)
Written: 1886; France
Date of Recording: 6/2003
Venue: CREAR, Argyll, Scotland
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