A few brief biographical notes regarding Henri Lazarof can be found in my review
of a Naxos disc devoted to some of his most significant large-scale orchestral works. Here we find a programme that operates on a smaller canvass but that still manages to exude power and unsettling force.
All the works are fairly new. The Second Piano Trio was composed in 2005 and is in three movements. Urgent tremolandi attest to a terse, almost pungent start though as ever Lazarof doesn’t evade more lyric pockets of inspiration, even if they are here, from time to time, more fugitive ones. The opening movement ends as it began, with those nervous tremolandos, but the middle movement establishes some puckish scherzo characteristics and the cumulative force of these two contrasting movements leads inevitably to the resolution of the slow finale, where Lazarof unveils his most rich lyric lines. There is a real sense of space here and a sense of calm closure too that makes an immediate structural and expressive appeal.
‘Momenti II’ was written for Christiane Edinger, whose contribution toward the success of this disc can’t be over-emphasised. This recording is also its first performance. Written in 2006 it lasts eight and a half minutes, and proves a companionable work that once more encourages a fair amount of lyrical interplay. Once again though Lazarof utilises tremolandi to impart different colours, textures and emotive states – this is in the numbered, third movement – and in his serious-minded finale alludes to Bachian models. ‘Tempi Concertati’ for violin and piano is the old stager amongst this quintet of works. It was completed in 2003. Bright and urgent, its refined lyricism is of Kandinskian intensity but it ranges rather more widely and even off-kilter than the companion works. This is because of the darting, evocative writing but also because the final movement, a Fantasia, has a fantastico
element that proves very diverting indeed, given that it embraces masque-like qualities; agile, propulsive, before vanishing into the ether. What a splendid work!
‘4 Etudes for 2 Violins’ was written for the two players here, Christiane Edinger and Adrien Iliescu. Once again this is not only a first recording but also a first performance. It’s exciting too, with more tremolandi and pizzicati to kick things rhythmically and explore things colouristically. There’s Bartókian vitality at work. Finally there’s Adieu
which was written for a good friend of the composer in 2006. Touchingly, but with reserved intensity, it ends a disc of real pleasures. True the notes are skimpy, but the recording is good and the performances sound terrifically well in command of Lazarof’s writing.