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Laurent Korcia - Songes
Nicolas BACRI (b.1961)

Une Prière Op.52 [22.32] *
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959)

Nigun – Baal Shem (1923) [6.10] +
Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928)

Violin Sonata – Ballade (1914 rev 1921) [5.09] +
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)

Danses roumaines (1915) – Pe Loc and Buciumenes transcribed Zoltan Szekely [2.41] +
Eugène YSAźE (1858-1931)
Rêve d’enfant, Op. 14 (c. 1902) [5.19]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)

Sonata for violin and piano No.1 in A major, Op.13 (1875-76) – Andante [7.28]
Ernst CHAUSSON (1855-1899)

Nos souvenirs – Quatre Melodies Op.8 (1885-87) [3.05]
Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944)

Sérénade espagnole arranged Fritz Kreisler [2.07]

Beau soir (c.1880) arranged Jascha Heifetz [2.16]
Laurent Korcia (violin)
Jean-Marc Luisada (piano)
Georges Pludermacher (piano) +
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne/Semyon Bychkov *
Recorded in Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Aldeburgh, 19-23 April, 2001, except Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne, June 1999 (items with Georges Pludermacher) and West German Radio, Cologne, January 2002 (Bacri)
BMG-RCA RED SEAL 82876 663272 [55.05]


Admirers of Laurent Korcia will realise that this is a case of repackaging, not a new release. That makes sense with regard to the Bacri, which was originally issued on RCA New CD, a twenty-three minute single. Otherwise we have an extracted single movement from the Fauré sonata, which originally appeared on RCA, coupled with the Franck and the Debussy-Heifetz arrangement, as well as other examples of his way with predominately Franco-Belgian material. There’s been some shuffling of the pack for this French-language only release, a sort of Highlights Plus and one that advertises Korcia’s credentials in some emotive and lyric repertoire.

His Nigun is more reminiscent of Grumiaux’s aristocracy of utterance than the young Menuhin’s oratorical Hebraic fervour. The Ballade from Janáček’s Sonata is strongly coloured and tends to the suave, rather lacking Josef Suk’s sense of repose; if you like juicy intensity however you’ll be titillated by the rather over-sophisticated gradient of Korcia’s playing. The booklet information is rather spare about the Bartók/Szekely (see my head note for fuller details); In Pe Loc Korcia is tonally much nearer Ida Haendel than Grumiaux – eerily so in fact - though he’s faster than Haendel. Ysaÿe’s Rêve d’enfant has been sparsely recorded over the years – though it received a recording or two during the composer’s lifetime – and it always makes for pleasurable hearing in sympathetic hands. The Fauré has some expressive and individual touches such as occasional non-synchronous piano chording for one and the Chausson is nicely emotive. The Chaminade isn’t really convincing; the natural rhythm eludes Korcia and Luisada and the emulation of Kreislerian style (it’s his famous arrangement) is only approximate. Lending an ear to Kreisler’s acoustic recording might have pointed them towards how it might better be done. It’s arguable that Heifetz over vibrated in his own recordings of his arrangement of Debussy’s Beau Soir – but this is not something Korcia does in his own affectionate reading. Bacri’s Une Prière is the body of the disc, a powerful threnody "in memory of the Jewish Martyrs of all time." The lines are long-limbed and the soloist spins an appropriately intense course between decorative writing and core oratory. The work is tracked in eight sections so it makes following the structure of this well argued concertante piece that much easier. Defiant and also intense the ending, after the intensely vibrated Scherzo that contains the second mini cadenza, comes as consolation.

The Bacri is obviously a powerful work and one both tonal and broodingly lyric. The rest of the recital is more for Korcia’s admirers, of whom there are an increasing number.

Jonathan Woolf


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