Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Sonata No.1 in G major Op.78 (1878-79) [28:18]
Cesar FRANCK (1822-1890)
Violin Sonata in A major (1886) [27:56]
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)
Concert Fantasy on ‘Carmen’ Op.25 (c.1883) [13:29]
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Méditation from Thaïs (1894) [5:13]
Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840)
Moto perpetuo — allegro di concert MS72 Op.11 (1835) [3:39]
Lucia Cooreman Luque (violin)
Mauro Bertoli (piano)
rec. 26 February 2010, unspecified location

This private recording has been made by the young team of Argentinean violinist Lucia Cooreman Luque and Italian pianist Mauro Bertoli. Lucia Luque was born in Cordoba in 1988 and has dual Argentinean and Belgian nationality. Her studies began with Humberto Carfi and are now continuing with Salvatore Accardo and Felice Cusano. Mauro Bertoli has won a number of prestigious prizes and is an active performer, and the more experienced of the two musicians.

The programme is so determinedly old school it made me smile. There are no concessions to any modernistic tendencies or even a token five-minute finger-buster from the latest whiz-kid. Suffice to say that Brahms and Franck are the love-and-marriage of violin recitals. And I’ve no objection at all, in a disc of this kind that acts as a promotional tool.

Luque has a knack for ear-catching finger position changes and for vitalising colours that keep the music on the go in the Franck. Her lower string vibrato is as yet audibly slower than the upper strings, noticeable especially in the Allegro, and also less flexible. The rather unremittingly close recording also probably exaggerates a lack of shaping of dynamics, and in this work, of all works, the hothouse shouldn’t become unbearable. In fact greater demands are placed on the pianist, technically, and Bertoli proves a supportive partner, though a touch overemphatic in places.

The Brahms is a consistently less convincing performance. They make very heavy weather of the first movement, stretching it out of shape and coming to a full stop at one point. It’s a youthful point of view, and characterised through affection I’m sure, but it’s architecturally unsustainable. They don’t seem attuned to Brahms, as yet.

Then we have an opportunity for virtuosic flair and abandon in the Sarasate, and the Paganini Moto perpetuo, which sounds tonally scratchy, and some sugary sentiment in a very stretchy Massenet Méditation. Again, the microphone is too close, highlighting flaws.

I’m sure we’ll hear more from these two musicians in years to come.

Jonathan Woolf

I’m sure we’ll hear more from these two musicians in years to come.