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  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


The Legendary Violinist - David NADIEN
Romantic and Virtuoso music from the Golden Age of the Violin
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)

Salut d’amour
Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1940)

Moto Perpetuo
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)

Meditation from Thais
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)

Caprice Basque
Zapateado
Habañera
Introduction and Tarantella
Franz DRDLA (1869-1944)

Souvenir
Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)

Caprice Viennois
Praeludium and Allegro
Joachim RAFF (1822-1882)

Cavatina
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Ave Maria
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)
On wings of song
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
William KROLL (1901-1980)

Banjo and Fiddle
Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894)

Melody in F
Henry VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881)

Regrets
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)

Berceuse
David Nadien (violin)
Boris Barere (piano)
No Recording details [from Kapp LPs]
CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD111 [74.11]

AVAILABILITY

www.cembaldamour.com

I waxed lyrical when reviewing the second volume in this David Nadien series (Cembal d’Amour CD117). I won’t rehearse the biographical material here – except to note that his distinguished career began with first prize in the Leventritt Award in 1946 and that many years later he was to become leader of the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein. His teachers were Adolph Betti of the Flonzaley Quartet and Ivan Galamian who clearly gave him a formidable grounding because his qualities – technical, tonal and expressive – mark him as a violinist of consistently superior calibre. This disc of eighteen Old School favourites is drawn from rare Kapp LPs and the performances show utter stylistic affinity, gorgeous liquidity of tone, magnificent allure and a vibrato both intensely fast and stunningly vibrant.

The disc starts with a Salut d’Amour that basks in luxurious intensity, full of rubati, portamenti and dynamic variance. There’s luscious depth here and real emotive intensity is reserved for the final phrases - though it’s not an ideally sweet performance and misses something of the piece’s innocence. The Paganini is thrown off with marvellous control (even if very occasionally there is some dryness in the passagework) but in the Massenet he fines his vibrato to a core and embodies the chastity evoked with fidelity and elegance. Accompanist Boris Barere – son of Simon, as I suppose he’s constantly called – shows his mettle in the introduction to Sarasate’s Caprice Basque and he plays with splendid rhythmic watchfulness. Nadien’s Iberian flair is full of panache and his harmonics are in tune and relished with devilish insouciance. A miniaturist sensitivity is unleashed on Drdla’s evergreen Souvenir where his phrasal elasticity is allied to truly luscious – maybe even lascivious – portamenti. He takes his time in Kreisler’s Caprice Viennois, which is an unusually watchful performance, though he mines the Rosenkavalieresque final scurry with puckish humour. It’s true that sometimes Nadien’s remarkably intense vibrato can be overpowering and this danger manifests itself in Raff’s Cavatina. For my taste there is a little too much emotive intensification – the line positively bristles with incident – and whilst the vibrato usage and consequent colouration is intensely evocative it can be too much of a good thing in a piece like this. The rubati and emotive finger position changes are in the end counter-productive.

But it’s back to top form though in Zapateado. This is vibrancy itself, with some lustrous playing, fizzing left hand pizzicati and ear tickling theatricality. He laces Mendelssohn with quick slides, intensified vibrato and a spirit of generous communion. His Debussy is quite slow, patrician and elegant with some delicacy and heavily vibrated phraseology. Perhaps he lacks the soaring, wounded sensuality of Thibaud here and that extraordinary artist’s sense of incipiently vested pain in this piece – but then everyone does. In Kroll’s slice of Americana, Banjo and Fiddle, Nadien is idiomatic and saucy and in Sarasate’s Habañera he is meaty but sensitive, his passagework of coruscating precision with some gloriously actorly rubati. Old World expressivity appears in Rubinstein’s Melody in F – though he entirely abjures salon simplicities – because there is a genuine and welcome seriousness to his playing with also some sensuous left hand emotiveness; this is an unusually sophisticated performance such as few of his contemporaries could manage – it combines stylistic acumen and tonal beauty. Vieuxtemps’ Regrets is an unusual choice but a fine one and reaches a stunning apex of magnificent control and declamatory elation. He points Fauré’s Berceuse just a little too hard and arguably there’s again rather too uncomfortable a sense of over intensity but the Introduction and Tarantella of Sarasate is a winner – lashings of temperament and colour. The ending is a tour de force. Finally Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro which opens in leonine fashion and features a rather slow Allegro; he keeps up the tension through his shading and splendid diminuendos even though there is maybe something slightly didactic about some of the passagework.

Quibbles, of course. As what one could call a leader-soloist Nadien sits at the most elevated level. I look forward to seeing further Nadien discs, preferably of the heavyweight concertos he performed over the years and that may have been preserved in broadcast recordings. Make no mistake – his name may mean little to you but he is a violinistic titan and if you’ve had your fill of anaemic fiddlers then have a transfusion of Nadien and luxuriate in the richness and succulent power of a remarkable musician.

Jonathan Woolf



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