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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Sonata No.1 in G minor, BWV 1001 (1720) [15:42]
Partita No.2 in D minor, BWV 1004 (1720) [24:34]
Pietro Antonio LOCATELLI (1695-1764)
L'Arte del Violino op.3 : 24 Caprices - Caprice No. 17 in G major [3:30]
Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840)
24 Caprices, Op. 1 (1801-07): Caprice No. 13 in B flat major: Allegro ‘The Devil’s Laughter’ [2:21]
Eric TANGUY (b. 1968)
Sonata breve - violin solo (1999) [8:50]
Marie-Astrid Hulot (violin)
rec. 23-24 October 2015, Forgotten Records, Studio, Rennes

Marie-Astrid Hulot was born in Paris in October 1997 studying in the city successively with Marie-Claude Theuveny and Olivier Charlier. Violinist Alexis Galpérine has written a brief biography of her in the booklet and includes some pertinent detail regarding the nature of her youthful talent. He locates a particular quality in her playing, the gift of interiority. This can, to an extent, be measured in her first disc, made for Forgotten Records which otherwise overwhelmingly – but not wholly exclusively – focuses on restoring LPs to the CD catalogue.

It’s a challenging but balanced solo violin programme. She has selected the first Sonata and second Partita of Bach with which to begin. It’s a tribute both to her musicianship and to the tutelage of Charlier that she sounds stylistically and technically so assured here. The music is well shaped and the fuga of the Sonata is clearly delineated at an acceptable tempo. Perhaps, as yet, some of her phraseology sounds rather too predictable – the Allemande of the Partita could be less on-the-page, with more rise and fall. She certainly has the digital control necessary for the Chaconne but the rather boxy recording exacerbates some razory chording. I suspect her tone, in person, and at a judicious distance, is not as raw as it sounds here.

Eric Tanguy’s Sonata was composed in 1999 – that’s to say when Hulot was a child of two. It’s a work of taut lyricism in three movements, the whole work lasting nine minutes. It flows eloquently in this performance with an especially intriguing withdrawn and coiling central movement that anticipates the sweeping finale. This calls for dextrous bowing and agile phrasing. The programme is completed by two Caprices. Caprice 17 from Locatelli’s Op.3 set of The Art of the Violin is heard in a fine reading and Caprice 13 from Paganini’s set of 24 is languidly done.

This is a pleasing souvenir of a youthful talent. One catches some sniffs, shifts, and bow changes along with those razory tonal qualities that are a by-product of the studio set-up.

Jonathan Woolf
Previous review: Stephen Greenbank



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