César FRANCK (1822-1890)
Violin Sonata in A-Major (1886) [23:58]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Violin Sonata in G-Minor (1917) [11:30]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Berceuse [2:57]
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Daisies Op. 38 No. 3 arr Heifetz [2:56] ¹
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953
Sonata for Two Violins in C, Op. 56 (1932) [13:33] ²
David Nadien (violin)
David Hancock (piano)
Abba Bogin (piano) ¹
Ruggiero Ricci (violin) ²
rec. live, 1968-70
CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD151 [54:51]
Once again we have a Nadien disc from Cembal d’amour, a label that acts as Boswell to the violinist’s Dr Johnson. A number of important inscriptions have emanated from this source, both studio and, more often, live. I think I must have reviewed them all. Nadien always has something to say, and whilst his ethos may be frankly derived from Heifetz, his individuality is such that he stands as a soloist with his own highly developed arsenal of expressive tools at his disposal.
It’s most instructive to hear him in Franck’s sonata, with pianist David Hancock in New York in 1968. They take the first movement deftly, not lingering overmuch, and allowing maximal contrast to fall between the movements and not, as can often happen, for ennui to set in through undifferentiation of mood, texture or tempo. This is a well characterised performance, powerfully projected and the finale is a good example of purposeful ensemble playing. We hear Nadien’s characteristically tight vibrato, of course, and at one or two points moments where his phrasing sounds just a touch calculated - but this is refined and elegant playing indeed.
His Debussy sonata performance - from the same concert? - is a direct one. The ethos is not especially Gallic - not in the way Thibaud, or Dubois or Francescatti were in their own ways, recognisably Gallic, or Franco-Belgian - but it retains independence on its own terms. One either accepts the oscillatory and fervid vibrato usage, or one doesn’t. I happen to find the playing here rather too suave, but that’s a phrasal (and personal) matter - but certainly the end could be more decisively stated.
The Fauré Berceuse is played quite quickly, but such is Nadien’s control of rubato that by the end one may not think so at all. It was certainly habitual with him to play it briskly, as he did so in his commercial recording of it. It’s a question more of accenting, than tempo as such. He also plays Heifetz’s transcription of Rachmaninoff’s Daisies and though the sound here - from Mohawk Trails in 1970 - is rather less good than the companion pieces, the playing is first class; note that the pianist here is Abba Bogin. Finally we have a high octane two fiddle summit meeting of Nadien and Ruggiero Ricci in the Prokofiev Sonata for two violins. The contrast between the resinous Ricci tone and the faster vibrato of Nadien proves highly diverting, the two coiling and twisting around each other in a fulsome dance.
I’m sure Nadien adherents will want to get to know these inscriptions.
Jonathan Woolf
I’m sure Nadien adherents will want to get to know these inscriptions.