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REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in A, Op. 13 (1875) [24:59]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D, Op. 94a (1944) [21:31]
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770)
Sonata in G minor, Op.1 No.10, ‘Didone abbandonata’ [10:59]
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959)
Suite Hébraîque (1950) [12:28]
Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937)
Pičce en forme de habanera (1907) [2:55]
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Romanian Folk Dances, Sz.56 (1926) (arr. Zoltán Székely) [4:35]
Miriam Solovieff (violin)
Jan Natermann (piano)
rec. January 1960 (Tartini, Bloch, Ravel, Bartók) and February 1961 (Fauré, Prokofiev), Hannover Studio A, North German Radio
MELOCLASSIC MC2030 [79:01]

Miriam Solovieff has been the subject of a previous disc from this label (see review) where matters biographical can be pursued. There we heard the fruits of a single recital but here we hear two German broadcast performances, from January 1960 and February 1961, heard in characteristically excellent sound. She is joined by the splendid Jan Natermann.

Their Fauré A major Sonata illustrates a fine rapport between the two musicians as they negotiate the fresh-minted lyricism and rhythmic vivacity of the piece. Her vibrato broadens appropriately in the Andante, songfully spun with silvery upper strings gleaming in the Hannover studio, though Solovieff sometimes lacks a truly rich colouristic palette. The scherzo is a test for the pianist as much as for the violinist and it’s fortunate that Natermann, who recorded quite a bit with cellist Antonio Janigro, is on hand. The finale is rather stately, so maybe she saw the Allegro’s ‘quasi presto’ implications rather differently from august earlier French practitioners such as Thibaud and Francescatti. The Prokofiev Sonata has enough gritty, indeed razory tone to offset the sweetness of the slow movement and to keep the music alive and appropriately exciting

The earlier broadcast begins with the Old School Tartini G minor Sonata Didone abbandonata. Romantically expressive and elegantly phrased, Solovieff finds a formal nobility in the second movement Presto and dignity elsewhere – though nothing is overtly personalised. Bloch’s Suite Hebraďque, in the violin and piano version, is expressive within limits – nothing too fervid or tonally combustible. It is stylish, intelligent playing though without, say, Totenberg’s charismatic interpretative and tonal stance - albeit he recorded the orchestrally-accompanied version. The Ravel is quite sultry and the Bartók evocative and finely played. In fact, Solovieff plays with commanding musicality throughout the two recitals.

As usual from this company the fine booklet is graced by first-class photographic material from diverse sources. This kind of detail is important. Altogether this is another excellent addition to the label’s violinistic roster – filling discographic gaps and expanding knowledge.

Jonathan Woolf



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