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Albert MARKOV (b. 1933)
Paganini-Ostinato (1985) [22:29]
Taiwanese Improvisation (1992) [4:16]
Sonata for solo violin No.1 (1965) [6:45]
Sonata for solo violin No.2 (1973) [8:32]
Duo sonata for two violins (1986) [6:25]
Postlude, after Bach’s Concerto, BWV1042 arr. Albert Markov (1982) [2:02]
Träumerei from Kinderszenen by Robert Schumann arr. Albert Markov [2:46]
Leyenda, from Asturias by Isaac Albéniz arr. Albert Markov [5:07]
Jean-Luc Richardoz (violin)
Patricia Reibaud (1st violin in the Duo Sonata)
rec. 2012, Chapelle Sainte-Hélène d’Auray

Albert Markov, now in his eighty-fourth year, belongs to a long tradition of executant-composers. He studied the violin with Piotr Stoliarsky and Yuri Yankelevich and composition with Aram Khatchaturian and Genrikh Litinsky. His soloistic career was launched after winning the gold medal at the Queen Elizabeth International Competition in Brussels. In 1975 he relocated to the USA, and has taught at the Manhattan School of Music since 1981. His pedagogical endeavours are widely recognized. As a composer he has written 3 operas, a symphony, a violin concerto and numerous other works for the instrument including those featured in this release.

Each of the works here makes formidable virtuosic demands on the soloist, exploiting the instrument’s potential to the full. A comic thread runs through the Paganini-Ostinato, almost a parody of the 24 Caprices. Each is skillfully refashioned, but retains the essential elements and spirit of the original. Jean-Luc Richardoz’s stunning virtuosity is impressive on all counts. The Taiwanese Improvisation is adapted from Markov’s ‘Formosa Suite’ for violin and orchestra. It’s a set of variations on a Chinese theme.

The two Solo Sonatas are more consequential. Each is structured in two movements. No. 1 contrasts an expressive and vehement movement with one animated and of a perpetuum mobile character. It is the Second Sonata which I personally prefer. It sounds like it could have come from the pen of Eugène Ysaÿe. It’s cast in neo-romantic garb and is dramatic in tone. The second movement is particularly arresting for it’s fiery disposition. In the Duo sonata for two violins Richardoz is joined by Patricia Reibaud. The composer wrote the work in 1986 and dedicated it to his wife and son, both violinists. Again in two movements, the first is a lyrical conversation piece, whilst the second is more spirited and rhythmically buoyant.

The three short pieces demonstrate the imagination and ingenuity of Markov, where he stamps his personal fingerprint on music by J. S. Bach, Schumann and Albéniz. Each work sits well with the solo fiddle.

Jean-Luc Richardoz’s rises to the challenge of these thrilling works admirably, and his performances are blessed with first class sound quality. All the music is receiving it’s world premiere recording.

Stephen Greenbank
Previous review: Jonathan Woolf



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