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]; Pričre 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 [78:46]
This is the first CD of Tianwa Yang’s that I have not been
completely thrilled with, and the culprit is the engineering.
The violin-and-piano CDs in this complete Sarasate series have
been recorded in Germany, while the violin-and-orchestra discs
are handled by a different team of producers in Spain. Although
Yang plays with breathtaking tonal depth and dazzling emotional
range, her violin simply doesn’t sound as good on this
CD. It’s a bit shrill and vinegary at times with one or two
of her most stunning moments swimming in reverb. Markus Hadulla’s
piano is unaffected. That said, if we’ve learned anything from
her orchestral recordings, it is that she is one of the best
young violinists at the simple art of sounding gorgeous. Don’t
get me wrong; it’s a terrific CD. There’s wonderful music here,
particularly the delicious all-muted Le Sommeil Op
11 - listen to Yang’s violin sing beginning at 2:40!.
The same goes for the newly-published Los pájaros de Chile,
which Sarasate wrote with exotic flourish on a South American
tour. The opening Boléro gives Tianwa Yang a chance
to show off her proficiency at basically every challenge a violinist
faces. All of them are demonstrated with light-heartedness and
even humor. The Zortzico is a transcription of a tune
by José Maria de Iparraquirre. It wastes no time introducing
one of the irresistibly lovely tunes this CD overflows with.
Sarasate springs another on us, sung by Yang with expansive
poetry and exquisite vibrato, about two minutes into the Fantaisie-Caprice.
Les Adieux is, arguably, not merely a perfect piece
to end the program, but a perfect piece, full stop. Throughout
the disc, Yang shows off her typical combination of extreme
virtuosic ability - listen to the ease of her harmonics in Los
pájaros - and heart-on-sleeve fervor. There is, as always,
a passion and verve in her playing which feels very old-fashioned,
like she stepped out of a time machine from the days when outsized
musical personalities were draped in a thick mono hiss. The
music does not demand much of Hadulla, except in Sarasate’s
often elegant introductions, which he renders as sensitively
as if he were accompanying lieder.
In sum: I can carp about the engineering if I like but Sarasate’s
music continues to impress — the man apparently couldn’t write
a worthless trifle, for they all give up pleasures — and Tianwa
Yang continues to demonstrate that she is one of the most sensational
violin talents of the new century. She gives everything she
plays grand emotional sweep, or call it soul, so you
hear both dazzling virtuosity and, more precious, super-heated
all-in commitment. Yang’s Mendelssohn violin concerto is coming
out at some point this year. Let’s hope her career, after seven
CDs so far, is only just beginning.
See also review by John
Whitmore (April 2012 Recording of the Month)
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