Italian musicians Guido Rimonda and Cristina Canziani take a
little vacation in France to bring us this rather intimate and
delightful hour of music that ranges from salon bonbons to a
fairly serious work to a rather overcooked favorite. Although
the music spans the quality scale from 1-10, there is still much
to enjoy in this recital that is very long on lovely tunes.
Jean Baptiste Charles Dancla was one of the last of the school
of French violin playing that was started some decades earlier
by Giovanni Batista Viotti. It was a school that emphasized lyricism
over substance and virtuosity over depth. These twelve musical
candies are rather the epitome of salon music; pretty and not
particularly complicated, meant to entertain. In addition to
their blatant tunefulness, there is also a didactic element at
play, as the composer explores various technical challenges for
the violinist in each movement. The piano alas is left to play
simple accompaniments that range from languid arpeggios to jaunty
Saint-Saëns’ first of two violin sonatas is his most
popular work in the genre. At times rhapsodic and at others achingly
lyrical, this is a work that stands easily beside similar works
by Cesar Franck and Gabriel Fauré in its scope and quality.
Saint-Saëns is a composer who is often passed over except
for a few major popular pieces. It’s a joy to hear some
chamber music from a composer whose gifts are far too underrated
by today’s listeners and performers.
Guido Rimonda is a violinist with a rich amber tone and plenty
of technical prowesses. He is most certainly of a romantic bent,
but never goes overboard, even in the easily overwrought Dancla
pieces. He performs with conviction and has a good sense of form,
pace and balance. He particularly shines in the Saint-Saëns,
where he delivers a performance that is at times ethereal and
at others dark hued and passionate. Ms. Canziani finally gets
an opportunity to show her stuff here, and she makes her way
around the keyboard with ease and flair.
The program is rounded out with the ever popular Massenet Meditation,
which is played lovingly and with great expression.
see also review by Jonathan Woolf