Notes and Editorial Reviews
Rustle of Spring for Piano Solo.
Sonate im alten Stil,
Paul Kraggerud (vn); Christian Ihle Hadland (pn)
NAXOS 8.572255 (58: 23)
The second volume of Christian Sinding’s music for violin and piano (including his famous piano solo, “Rustle of Spring”) includes short pieces, somewhat longer ones like the Romance, op. 100, the Ballade, and
, as well as the more complex—and paradoxically forward-looking—five-movement
Sonate im alten Stil
. As did the first volume (Naxos 8.572254), this one offers committed, idiomatic performances that can be recommended with equal warmth. As before, as well, Kraggerud plays a 1744 Guarneri del Gesù lent to him by Dextra Musica AS, drawing from it here a tone chastely pure in the upper registers and lush in the lower ones. The Romance, op. 100, offers possibilities for more than routine expressivity, and he takes advantage of them just as effectively as he does the more skittish playfulness of pieces like
. “Rustle of Spring,” a popular piano solo made a comical appearance as a piano-roll solo in the movie of Meredith Willson’s
. Hadland plays it with the sense of importance he might have accorded a Beethoven Sonata. The brief Romance, op. 30, traverses a varied emotional landscape during its just less than five-minute duration. The Sonata consists of five movements of varied affect that often return, as in the first movement, Marcato, to Sinding’s basic lyrical Romanticism. The second movement, Andante doloroso, sets a pining melody over poignant harmonies, and offers the duo ample opportunities for sensitive cantabile, of which both Kraggerud and Hadland take ample advantage. A playful Menuetto gives way to a movement of which the notes and the blurb on the back of the jewel case make a great deal, with a main section in 7/4 that returns after an intermezzo in 5/4, passages that sound more experimental on paper than they do unusual or waddlingly duck-like in performance. The Sonata ends with a move from skittish scherzando to authoritative declamation. (Dora Bratchkova and Andreas Meyer-Hermann played the
Sonate im alten Stil
, op. 99, as well as the Violin Sonata in F Major, the Romance, op. 9, and
Scènes de la vie
, op. 51, on cpo 999 931, 28:6. Bratchkova’s tempos seem almost ponderous by comparison in the fast movements, and in the Andante doloroso, the extra time she takes for meditation doesn’t confer any extra expressivity—if anything, Kraggerud’s reading’s more allusive). The three-minute length belies the serious statement the Elegy makes in this performance, and the duo sends its companion Ballade aloft with expressive urgency.
, according to the notes, Sinding’s last work for violin and piano, incorporates slightly impressionistic harmonies and melodic patterns, but remains generally within Sinding’s familiar melodic range.
If this recital’s a labor of love for Kraggerud and Hadland, their enthusiasm and devotion seep through the staves and bar lines and Naxos’s clean recorded sound adds a dollop of whipped cream. Those who enjoyed the duo’s first volume of Sinding, cited above, should find this one equally satisfying. Warmly recommended.
FANFARE: Robert Maxham