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Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
Violin sonata No.1 Op.51 (1929) [12:29]
Violin sonata No.2 Op.82 Sonata española (1933-34) [15:30]
Variaciones clásicas Op.72 (1928) [9:27]
Euterpe Op.93 No.2 (1942) [3:29]
El poema de una sanluqueña (Fantasia para violin y piano) Op.28 (1923) [20:47]
Eva León (violin); Jordi Masó (piano)
rec. October 2007, Auditorium, Jafre, Spain
NAXOS 8.570402 [61:55]
Experience Classicsonline

Turina’s evocative, shimmering, folk-drenched Andalucían confections make for orderly programming and splendid listening. They also invite warmly textured playing that embodies all the cardinal virtues of an early impressionist-classicist heritage, lightly worn.

The First Sonata was dedicated to the fine violinist Jeanne Gauthier. It sounds, in places, oddly like the 1917 John Ireland Second Sonata though its vaguely Delian references are probably diluted impressionism and incidental. The second subject is sweetly lyrical but has a touch of the salon style about it as well. A fine aria lies at the heart of the central movement - in which Eva León’s soft variegated tone is a decided asset - as do some rather rhetorical late nineteenth century violinistics - via Sarasate maybe. The finale picks up on Sevillian vigour - with puckish guitar “thwack” imitations and dancing rhythmic animation.

A decade later he wrote his final numbered sonata, the one by which he is best known - if he’s known at all for them. The Second Sonata cleaves in part to the Iberian impressionist model so proudly absorbed earlier in his compositional life. As before various dance patterns course through the veins of this energising opus - though one becomes aware that these are less fanciful than of old, and more sophisticated in their melodic and rhythmic profile and patterns. For example though Turina employs the Fandango with great skill he fuses it with alternating relaxed material that ensures a cohesion sometimes lacking in the earlier works. Throughout we also find that Iberia is spiced with Franck’s oratorical recitative.

The third major work here is El poema de una sanluqueña (Fantasia para violin y piano) which was written before the First Sonata Op.51. This captures perfectly the sense of allure and reserve, the lyricism and introversion, that permeates Turina’s Andalucian imagination, here ones wedded powerfully to female inspirations. The four movements are succinct but spicy, coilingly descriptive, sultry, and warm. There’s a delicious - in effect - Scherzo, and subtle colouration and withdrawn wistfulness for the last of the four, The Rosary In The Church.  

The Variaciones clásicas were written just before the Second Sonata. They employ a raft of dance rhythms, the seguidillas prominently, and end in a zapateado of foot-tapping zest; moods range from melancholy to driving. Then there’s the modestly sized Euterpe written much later in 1942 and chockfull of bracing zest once more. 

We’re fortunate in having a number of recommendable versions of Turina’s works for violin. You don’t need to scratch too deeply to locate Roland Roberts and Miyako Hashimoto on Meridian CDE84430 or the eminent pairing of Felix Ayo and Bruno Canino on Dynamic CDS208. I admire the last mentioned, have not auditioned the Meridian, but will also recommend in particular David Peralta Alegre and Ana Sanchez Donate on Verso VRS2039. Their programme is somewhat different giving us the early sonata that Turina soon withdrew, and the Homenaje a Navarra but not Euterpe or El Poema - so things aren’t directly comparable. Verso’s acoustic is harder, and the Naxos makes a bigger splash in that respect. There’s not much between these two pairings interpretatively or tonally, though perhaps I prefer the greater tightness and urgency of the Verso pairing in No.2. But with Naxos we have the admirable Jordi Masó, so deeply immersed in this repertoire, who lends invaluable and expressively bright support. You won’t be disappointed by this Naxos newcomer; the music is served up with panache and passion.  

Jonathan Woolf



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