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Renate Eggebrecht: Violin Solo 4
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959)
Suite No.1 for solo violin (1958) [9:53]
Suite No.2 for solo violin (1958) [10:02]

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Elégie (1944) [4:30]
Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969)
Four Caprices (1968) [10:05]
Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978)
Sonata-monologue for violin solo (1975) [12:16]

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998)
a paganini (1982) [12:24]
Renate Eggebrecht (violin)
rec. November and December 2007, Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Heidelberg-Sandhausen, Clara-Wieck-Auditorium
Experience Classicsonline

The gallant Renate Eggebrecht continues her exploration of the solo violin repertoire. I’ve already reviewed volume two in this series. It’s a little unfortunate that she comes into competition with Hagai Shahan in the Bloch Suites (see review) because her more corrosive tone is little real match for his potent expressive arsenal. As ever she takes brisk tempi in the solo repertoire, and with a chilly-ish recorded sound the works emerge as brisk, businesslike and unyielding.

Her approach to Khachaturian’s 1975 Sonata-monologue is remarkably brusque. Victor Pikaizen, one of this work’s greatest exponents, took sixteen minutes over it (see review of this five CD set) and whilst others have certainly been quicker, Eggebrecht puts it to the sword, driving through in twelve. Fast tempi don’t concern me in context, in fact I generally approve of them, but this slashing approach is rather cosmopolitan and ignores the folkloric and ethnic strains embedded in the writing. 

She has recorded Bacewicz before – there’s an example in the previous volume alluded to above – and as before she takes a tensile and tough approach, this time to the 1968 Caprices. Some might like the somewhat acidic tonal reserves she employs whilst others will not much be taken by the uncompromising astringency of her sound – it’s broadly a Kremer like approach in that sense. Disinclined though she is to make a beautiful sound, she does bring a taut, biting, grating realism to the Caprices and makes something of the almost pointillist abstractions, in particular, of the second caprice. 

There are two other pieces here. Stravinsky’s Elégie is often heard in its original version for viola – it was written in memoriam for Alphonse Onnou, first violin of the Pro Arte Quartet – but works well for violin.  Whereas Schnittke’s a Paganini (modishly lower case and no accent) offers a stern test of cadential drama and torrid bowing. 

Once again one admires Eggebrecht’s clear-eyed gaze in the solo violin repertoire. The programme is artfully constructed and offers strong contrasts, taking in influences ranging from Bach to the village band. The playing is highly individualistic and here, rather too often, terse. 

Jonathan Woolf




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