Martin • Stravinsky • Honegger
In today’s ever noisier musical world, there are plenty of violinists possessing the qualities – bombproof technique, powerful weight of tone, insistent projection, relentless reliability – that are required for a major career. Every so often, one comes along who also has something more important: the capacity to draw the listener in as well as to impress, with characterisation skills to match. This young Latvian player has all this, and then some.
Baiba Skride’s way with Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto confirms it as masterpiece of grace, charm, and scintillating joie de vivre to go with all the fabled and incisive invention; and the intricate solo-and-ensemble interplay is captured in a beautifully balanced recording. As so often with Switzerland’s Frank Martin, his Violin Concerto of 1951 serves notice that this was one of the last century’s most underrated composers; Skride engages happily with the music’s beguiling range of light and shade and quietly insistent invention. In both works, Thierry Fischer and the orchestra offer stylish accompaniments. Generous fill-ups, too: the orchestra has plenty of fun with Honegger’s tricksy musical sound-pictures and the antics of Stravinsky’s Circus Polka (written for a cast of 50 elephants and 50 ballerinas).