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Ursula Bagdasarjanz - Volume 4
Ursula BAGDASARJANZ (b.1934)
Sept Poesies pour Violon et Piano:-
Berceuse in C minor [3:26]2
Dracula in F major [2:51]2
Gipsy-Romance in B minor [5:05]2
Caprice in B minor [4:51]2
Joie de vivre in G major [3:47]2
Reverie in B minor [3:35]2
Introduction et petite Valse des Alpes in G major [3:28]2
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Sonata in B flat major for violin and piano K.378: Allegro moderato [9:04]1,3
George Frederick HANDEL (1685-1759)
Sonata in F major for violin and piano [11:26]1,4
Pietro NARDINI (1722-1793)
Sonata in D major for violin and piano: Adagio [2:14]1,5
Niccolo PAGANINI (1782-1840)
Sonata No. 12 for violin and piano Op.3 [3:59]1,4
Ursula Bagdasarjanz (violin)1
Melanie Di Christino (violin)2; Raluca Stirbat (piano)2; Fernane Kaeser (piano)3; Bruno F. Saladin (piano)4; Luciano Sgrizzi (piano)5
rec. Soundville Recording Studios, Lucerne, 7 November 20072
rec. 1969 (Mozart ); 1964, live (Handel); 1960 (Nardini); 1964, live (Paganini)
GALLO CD-1251 [54:46]
 
In 2008 the Swiss Label Gallo released four volumes of recordings by the violinist Ursula Bagdasarjanz. Last year saw the release of volume 5 which contains works by Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. The discs are resurfacing, and I was pleased to be given the opportunity to review volume 4 as a few months ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing volume 1.
 
Being familiar with all the other volumes, which have formed a very welcome part of my collection, this one seemed to have slipped my attention first time around.
 
Born in Winterthur, Switzerland in 1934 to a mother who was a violinist of some stature and a Romanian father, Ursula gave her first concert at the age of ten. She went on to study with Aida Stucki, Marcel Reynal and with Sandor Vegh in Basel. She later attended master-classes with Max Rostal, who had been a pupil of the great violin pedagogue Carl Flesch.
 
Interspersed throughout the CD are Bagdasarjanz’s own ‘Sept poesies pour violon et piano’, described in the booklet notes as ‘Seven romantic violin encores’, with piano parts composed by Brigitta Meister. They were recorded in 2008 by the violinist Melanie Di Cristino, and accompanied by Raluca Stirbat (piano). The first piece, Berceuse in c minor is a simple melodious work, characterized by expressive lyricism yet with an underlying melancholy. This is followed by Dracula, a piece guaranteed to make the listener sit up and take notice. Jaunty and astringent, the sounds emanating from the violin have a Mephistophelian character, over an ostinato bass. Gipsy Romance is, as it’s title suggests, romantic and rhapsodic, interrupted twice by a Hungarian dance-like section. Caprice, with its recitative section is very much cloaked in Paganiniana. Joie de Vivre is bright, cheerful and exuberant. I detected some echoes of Wieniawski. Reverie is effusive and charming. The final piece Introduction et petite Valse des Alpes in G major has a declamatory opening followed by a melody closely resembling Paganini’s ‘Carnival of Venice’.
 
It is disappointing that, apart from the Handel Sonata and the very short Paganini Sonata, we are only given one movement from the Mozart and Nardini works. These two isolated movements are to be found in their full versions in Volume One. I would like to have heard more of Bagdasarjanz’s playing than is offered on this CD. Nevertheless, what we have here gives one a general idea of the qualities which distinguish her playing. All the elements are there: faultless intonation, beauty of sound, expressive phrasing and wonderful dynamic control. Her vibrato is varied, and furnishes her sound with a tonal opulence. Most of all, however, her playing has a wonderful sense of line.
 
Melanie Di Cristino and Raluca Stirbat play the Bagdasarjanz items with great commitment, and the recorded sound is second to none. The tracks featuring Bagdasarjanz, are re-mastered recordings from the 1960s, and are very well reproduced.
 
Stephen Greenbank