Violin Sonata Op.82 (1918) [25:09]
Serenade (1932) arr. Joseph Szigeti [2:35]
Adieu (1932) arr. Joseph Szigeti [2:39] Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Violin Sonata No.3 in C minor Op.45 (1887) [23:54]
From Hjertets Melodier Op.5 No.4 (1863-66): To
Brune Oine [0:59]; Du Fatter Ei Bolgernes Evige Gang
Andrei Korobeinikov (piano)
rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, June 2007 CHALLENGE
CLASSICS CC72293 [57:36]
Siem draws attention to some parallels between Elgar
and Grieg in his refreshingly different notes to this
Challenge Classics disc. These go beyond the merely temporal – 2007,
when this disc was recorded, saw the hundred and fiftieth
anniversary of Elgar’s birth and the centenary of Grieg’s
death. Nationalism, doctorates and status, these are
some of the areas touched upon though wisely they’re
not pushed to excess.
matters to the disc maven though is the nature of the
performances. These I’d characterise as “late-expressive”.
Siem pursues some daringly elastic rubati in the first
movement of Elgar’s increasingly popular sonata – strange
how this work has suddenly come into fashion after long
neglect. He maintains expressive interest even when the
passagework, which in some other hands can seem sequential
and unthrilling, is at its thickest – though the corollary
is that he sometimes loses the thematic motor of the
argument as a result. Meanwhile Andrei Korobeinikov is
not afraid to assert himself with tumultuous extroversion
at climactic points. They take a good tempo for the central
movement, all the better to convey its caprice and the
haunted spirit that underlies it. And the finale opens
as a “clouds parting” moment albeit some quizzical phrasing
soon reminds us that the sonata is bedecked with nostalgia
and loss. Siem, rather like Daniel Hope, isn’t afraid
of some throaty tone if it’s in the interests of heightened
expression. The finale’s reminiscence section is played
at speed and not indulgently. This is sensitive, inward,
occasionally rather Brahmsian playing; not heroic.
sense of inwardness resurfaces in the Grieg Sonata. Here,
though, those things that might have given one slight
concern in the Elgar are magnified. The opening movement,
whilst sensitively done, sags because Siem and Korobeinikov – though
principally one feels the violinist – make too great
a contrast between themes and the rubato stretches well
beyond natural limits. I liked the pianist’s articulation
in the second movement – very delicate and refined – whilst
the finale promotes reflection rather at the expense
of lyricism. It’s useful to hear the promotion of a different
kind of approach once in a while though it sounds too
imposed for my tastes.
are some miniatures to tickle the ear. The two Elgar
ones are those edited by Szigeti and recorded by him
on 78s. They’re both charmingly done especially Adieu
with its remembrance of the composer’s Violin Concerto.
They suit the reflective tenor of the programme well.
The Grieg sweetmeats are briefer still but raptly done.
recorded sound graces all the performances. If you like “close
of day” approaches to these two sonatas you may find
these performances very much to your liking.
from previous months Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the
discs reviewed. details We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to
which you refer.