David Nadien Plays
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Passacaglia for violin and viola in G minor arr. Johann HALVORSEN (1864-1935) [6:30]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Duo for violin and viola in B flat major K424 (1783) [16:31]
Camille SAINT-SAňNS (1835-1921)
Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor Op.28 [8:32]
Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908)
Navarra for two violins Op.33 (1863) [5:41]
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)
PoŤme for violin and orchestra Op.25 (1896) [16:38]
David Nadien (violin)
Barry Finclair (violin and viola)
American Ballet Theatre Orchestra/Akiro Endo
rec. April 1977, except Chausson: July 1974
CEMBAL DíAMOUR CD 161 [53:58]

Cembal díamourís excellent series of recordings devoted to violinist David Nadien continues with an all-live affair covering the years 1974 and 1977. Iíve written about Nadien on many occasions, and invariably with admiration, and itís appropriate that his art should be perpetuated in this way.

You must get used to a rather steely, harsh sound quality to the live set with violinist-violist Barry Finclair. I assume that these performances were taken down on cassette, though I could be wrong, and it would be a mistake to give the impression that there is anything ingratiating in the sound: warm it is not. So, whilst it imparts a rather torrid aural perspective it does catch clarity. The disc starts with that old stand-by, the Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia, first recorded on an acoustic disc by Sammons and Tertis, and their later electric version is still the greatest ever committed to disc. Nadien and Finclair incline rather more to Heifetz and Primrose than the English players - and nor do they seek to replicate the smaller scaled playing of Eddy Brown and Milton Katims in their 78. Do they interpolate some registral emendations of their own, toward the end?

The Mozart Duo performance comes from the same recital and is assured, muscular, direct playing of no little technical command. The second movement Allegro is especially extrovert and thereís a lithe control to the slow movement, as well as good phrasing in the variations of the penultimate movement. The only demerit, once again, is the chilliness of the recording. Sarasateís Navarra sees Finclair reach for his violin, and the duo proceeds to unleash a tremendously communicative account both tonally vibrant and technically adroit. Saint-SaŽnsís Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso is elegant and dashing in equal amounts and pianist Jonathan Feldman proves assured support, as he did in Navarra.

The performance of Chaussonís PoŤme was given in April 1977 with the American Ballet Theatre Orchestra conducted by Akiro Endo. Thereís an increased quotient of hiss but it doesnít disturb appreciation of Nadienís quicksilver instincts or of the sheer intensity of his playing, the only drawback of which is, in certain passages, his slightly too quick vibrato.

Nadien admirers will find much to enjoy here, in another act of reclamation.

Jonathan Woolf

Nadien admirers will find much to enjoy here, in another act of reclamation.