Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


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Carl Nielsen (1865 - 1931)
Sonata in A, Op 90, for Violin and Piano (1895) [21.09]
Sonata #2 ["in g"] op 35, for Violin and Piano (1912) [19.01]
Præludium og Tema med Variationer for Violin solo (1923) [15.06]
Preludio e Presto for violin solo (1928) [10.30]
Demertzis Georgios Demertzis, violin; Maria Asteriadou, Steinway piano Model D
Notes in English, Danska, Deutsch, and Français
BIS CD 1284 [67.03]

From the opening the First Violin Sonata is immediately identifiable as having been written by the young Nielsen of the First Symphony. The work is rhapsodic, lyrical, ecstatic, like the best of early Nielsen.

The Second Sonata is grander and more mystical, occasionally playful, in the style of the middle and later symphonies, with which it is contemporaneous.

The Theme And Variations is so difficult that it has been performed rarely, but violinist Demertzis tosses it off with utter aplomb and complete lack of struggle as if it were the easiest thing in the world. As a result we can relax and really enjoy it. Naturally it contains vigorous arpeggiated passages, as well as lyrical episodes. While it is unlike other Nielsen works it is easily accessible.

The Preludio e Presto is for "prepared violin" as the soloist is required to apply a mute to one string while playing on another. The work is written without key signature or bar-lines giving it much of the character of a free improvisation. In spite of this daring modernism for its time, even the conservative critics were pleased.

Violinist Demertzis studied with Max Rostal and here plays dramatically, powerfully, assuredly, with brilliant tone. Pianist Asteriadou, a prize winner at the Maria Callas International Piano Competition in Athens, presents the fiendishly difficult piano parts with virtuosity, drama and beautiful tone. The two artists work together with complete understanding and make this music sound easy to play, which it most assuredly is not. Recording is close and extremely accurate one hears the dampers lifting off the piano strings, and on one occasion one can hear the violinist take a breath before beginning a movement. Violin tone is very sharp, but the deepest bass seems missing from the piano sound.

Paul Shoemaker


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