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Nicolas BACRI (b.1961)
Une Prière Op. 52 for violin and orchestra - à la mémoire des martyrs juifs de tous les temps (1994-1997) [22.33]
Laurent Korcia (violin)
WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln/Semyon Bychkov
rec. WDR, Köln, Jan 2002

BMG RCA RED SEAL 82876 584162 [22:33]


Nicolas Bacri continues to make a deserved name for himself with music that veers between the poles of Bergian indulgence and neo-romanticism. Here he announces his presence for the first time on an international label and with a conductor and orchestra of similar celebrity.

The four movement (eight section) Prière in part looks to Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs - a work that affected Bacri as much as it did Peteris Vasks. There is a long largo cantabile. The multo ruvido (tr. 3) is by no means meditative; it bursts into darting aggressive activity and is seasoned with a touch of Jewish temperament. There is a passacaglia notable for fast hunting activity pecking away with all the rawness of a violin-led scherzo by Shostakovich. Long melodic lines are spun by the orchestra in a stimulating counterpoint. Then follows another scherzo. Here the predominant mood is that of a nocturnal dream-flight through a forest. The trio is dignified and extremely serious with the great draughts of air recalling the epic pacing of a Roy Harris largo. In the ricapitolazione we revert to the mood and atmosphere of the first section of the largo cantabile. It is not a carbon copy of Gorecki 3 but there are affinities. Other potently suggestive cross-references include the heartfelt opening of the Berg Violin Concerto, the ecstatic apotheosis of The Lark Ascending and the slow consolatory march that is the end of Pettersson 7. At the last breath the violin rises to a gleaming Tuonela-like glow.

Korcia's silken aggression of tone reminds me very much of Paul Zukofsky. Itís a pity that the disc tells us nothing about Korcia who is clearly a redoubtable player.

Rob Barnett

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