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Emile SAURET (1852-1920)
24 Études-Caprices, Op. 64, Vol. 1 (1902)
No. 1 in C Major [6:23]
No. 2 in A Minor [7:24]
No. 3 in F Major [8:49]
No. 4 in D Minor [6:16]
No. 5 in B Flat Major [8:23]
No. 6 in G Minor [11:51]
No. 7 in E Flat Major [11:38]
Nazrin Rashidova (violin)
rec. Holy Trinity Church, Weston, Hertfordshire, July 2016
NAXOS 8.573704 [61:20]

Naxos will carry through the recording of all of Sauret's Études-Caprices across several volumes of which this is the first. Their violinist is the most impressive Nazrin Rashidova. She is recorded in a vibrant acoustic with a middlingly forward balance. In this setting you catch the full range of the music and the playing in an impact that is grippingly vivid.

While Sauret, who was a pupil of Charles de Bériot, Henri Vieuxtemps and Salomon Jadassohn, also wrote works with a didactic intention (20 Grandes Études, Op. 24, 12 Études artistiques, Op. 38 and a Gradus ad Parnassum du violoniste) other works declared the existence and spreading of expressive wings. There is for example a Violin Concerto and, as Rashidova tells us, a "notably fiendish cadenza" for Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Add to these a scattering of engaging pictorial violin and piano pieces. These can be sampled on an earlier Naxos disc.

The present Études-Caprices are not without emotional substance. Their academic-poetic duality and tension is hinted at by the binary title. There's the academic-structural Etude as one element and the more florid and unstable aspect inherent in the word Caprice. Rashidova gives every appearance of being a reliable and inspired guide through these rarities which stay well distant from vacuous display. The writing and the catchy melodic ideas have a fluent Tchaikovskian contouring. The slippery Sibelian wistfulness of the First, the Paganinian chuckling aspects of the Fourth and the sentimental introspective side of the Sixth exemplify the listenable strengths of these pieces.

The Op. 64 set was dedicated to Sauret's English pupil Marjorie Hayward (1885-1953) who went on to premiere John Ireland's First Violin Sonata and York Bowen's Violin Concerto.

Rashidova was a pupil of Erich Gruenberg and Lydia Mordkovitch at the Royal Academy of Music which she entered at the age of fifteen. She is at what one takes to be a peak of her technical and expressive range. Her liner-essay introduces each of these pieces in turn as well as giving necessary factual 'colour' around Sauret.

Rob Barnett



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