RECORD OF MONTH
 
Pablo SARASATE (1844-1908)
Music for Violin and Piano - Volume 3
Bolero, Op. 30 [5:31]; Zortzico d'Iparaguirre, Op. 39 [1:53]; Serenade andalouse, Op. 28 [4:51]; Adios montanas mias, Op. 37 [2:15]; Le sommeil, Op. 11 [4:40]; Reverie, Op. 4 [4:36]; Introduction et fandango, Op. 40 [8:00]; Fantaisie-Caprice [9:05]; PriŤre et berceuse, Op. 17 [4:27]; Confidences, Op. 7 [3:54]; Caprice sur Mireille de Gounod, Op. 6 [9:20]; Airs ecossais, Op. 34 [8:15]; Los pajaros de Chile [6:28]; Les adieux, Op. 9 [4:36]
Tianwa Yang (violin); Markus Hadulla (piano)
rec. Clara-Wieck-Auditorium, Sandhausen, Germany, 10-13 September 2007, 1-6 December 2010
NAXOS 8.570893 [78:55]
 
Anyone interested in stunning violin artistry should buy this amazing disc straightaway. Itís one of the best things Iíve heard in a long time. I hadnít come across Tianwa Yangís Sarasate series for Naxos before but I will certainly search out the other discs as a matter of some urgency. Her playing is simply extraordinary - no wonder sheís been described as ďA Pride of ChinaĒ. This isnít one of those flashy, hollow, 20-notes-a-second recitals that quite frankly drive me to distraction. You know the sort of thing, the ones that are all about technique and nothing to do with music. This playing is supremely musical. Dazzling, all the same, but itís the musicianship thatís the primary focus. Tianwa Yangís sound is beautiful. At no point in this 79 minute programme is there a hint of strain. The tone remains perfect even during the harmonics, double-stopping passages and those dazzling displays of bowing contained in the fiendishly difficult Fantaisie-Caprice. All the notes are perfectly in place but itís all so lyrical, sensitively shaped and touching. Intonation is impeccable. It really is that good.
 
Many of the works on the disc are new to me. Sarasate has certainly written some really memorable, tuneful pieces. I will regularly return to them again. Heís Spainís answer to Paganini in terms of his accomplishment as a violinist. Listening to his music, I find it more enjoyable and elegant than that of Paganini. Itís obviously very taxing from a technical standpoint. On the other hand it never reaches the point where you feel that the writing is right on the edge of becoming unplayable with those uncomfortable sounds that can emanate even from the bows of the worldís finest players. I am thankful that Ms Yang, very ably supported by Markus Hadulla, has committed this wonderful music to record. Thereís a great variety in Sarasateís writing, ranging from the dazzling virtuosity of Fantaisie-Caprice to the lyrical elegance of Bolťro and the singing melodic inspiration to be found in RÍverie and PriŤre et berceuse.
 
The recording is warm, detailed and resonant with a nice, beefy piano sound. A joy to listen to in fact.
 
A final thank you and a plea to Naxos and their engineering team: I would love to hear Ms Yang in the Nielsen and Sibelius concertos. More please!
 
John Whitmore
An amazing violinist does wonders with Sarasate.