for £13.50 postage paid World-wide.
Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Nocturne in E flat major, op.9 no.2 (arr. Pablo de Sarasate) [4:28]
Etude in E major, op.10 no.3 (arr. K. Weksler/M. Blum) [4:23]
Etude in F minor, op.25 no.2 (arr. Willy Burmester) [1:56]
Prelude in B flat major, op.28 no.21 (arr. Gustaw Adolfson) [2:29]
Prelude in E minor, op.28 no.4 (arr. Gustaw Adolfson) [2:17]
Mazurka in D/A major, op.33 no.2 (arr. Fritz Kreisler) [1:58]
Mazurka in B minor, op.33 no.4 (arr. J. Ebner) [3:49]
Mazurka in A minor, op.67 no.4 (arr. Antoni Cofalik) [3:15]
Nocturne in B flat minor, op.9 no.1 (arr. Karol Lipinski) [7:26]
Nocturne in C sharp minor - Lento con gran espressione (arr. Antoni
Nocturne in D flat/D major, op.27 no.2 (arr. August Wilhelmj) [6:26]
Nocturne in E flat major, op.55 no.2 (arr. Camille Saint-Saëns)
Jaroslaw KORDACZUK (b.1967)
Sostenuto: Hommage à Chopin (2009) [5:23]
Jolanta Stopka (violin)
Magdalena Blum (piano)
rec. November - December 2009, Polish Radio Studio S1. Warsaw, DDD
PRÉALABLE AP0208 [53:48]
I’m not aware that there are many discs of violin transcriptions
of Chopin’s music. Certainly many recitals will contain a spicy
arrangement or two – say one of Kreisler’s, or the famous Sarasate
of the Nocturne in E flat major, Op.9 No.2, but a whole 50 or
so minutes is a new experience for me.
The transcriptions vary between the very famous and the unknown.
Violinist Jolanta Stopka and pianist Magdalena Blum start with
the best known, Sarasate’s, and take it from there. Her vibrato
can be a bit slow, and so too her trills, and this imparts a
degree of tremulousness to some of the playing. For a lark,
I dug out the transcriber’s own 1904 recording: what panache,
what elastic rubati, what tight, fast trills! Perhaps the second
best known is Wilhelmj’s arrangement of the Op.27 No.2 Nocturne.
She plays this with delicate, refined almost perfumed sincerity.
It certainly makes a real change to hear Mischa Elman’s 1919
recording, all expressive generosity and manly confidence.
Pianist Blum and someone called K. Weksler have jointly transcribed
the Op.10 No.3 Etude. Here they run the gauntlet of a big ask.
I waited to see what they’d do with the pianist’s contrary motion
octaves. Answer? Nothing. They leave it with the piano. Fair
enough, I suppose, but overall it’s a bit of a queasy arrangement.
I wish Willy Burmester, Teutonic curmudgeon and self-promoter
extraordinaire, had recorded his transcription of the F minor
Etude. In fact, few ever have. There are two transcriptions
by one G. Adolfson or, as the notes don’t tell us, Adolf Gustav
Sonnenfeld, who cleverly reassembled his names to construct
his pseudonym. He took the Op.28 No.4 Prelude, an especially
beautiful piece of music, which just about survives the transcription.
Stopka veils her tone usefully here.
I was expecting the Kreisler version of the A minor Mazurka
but instead we get one by Antoni Cofalik, a contemporary Polish
violin player and pedagogue; effectively done. The longest transcription
is of the Nocturne Op.9 No.1 by Karol Lipinksi (1790-1861),
a famous Polish virtuoso, and it works quite well in its leisurely
way. And there is a pendant, Sostenuto, a Chopin ‘homage’
by composer Jaroslaw Kordaczuk (b.1967) that includes some discreetly
stomping Tatra folklore.
At the end of the A minor Mazurka (the Cofalik arrangement)
there’s a startling moment, reminiscent of old unedited 78 days,
when Stopka accidentally hits a string and says something, probably
to the control booth.
It’s an interesting idea, an all-Chopin transcription album,
but somewhat variably executed.