Bartók • Eötvös • Ligeti

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Bartók; Eötvös; Ligeti
ALBUM TITLE: Bartók • Eötvös • Ligeti
WORKS: Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 2; Eötvös: Seven; Ligeti: Violin Concerto
PERFORMER: Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin); Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra/Peter Eötvös


In everything I’ve heard her play Patricia Kopatchinskaja marries consummate technical brilliance and an amazing aural imagination with a capacity to bring completely new interpretative perspectives to some very familiar music. This latest marvellously recorded release, featuring three Hungarian violin concertos, may well be her finest achievement to date. She is absolutely in her element, drawing on her vast experience of eastern European folk music to create a sound palette that encompasses a staggering range of colours and inflections.

The net result in Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto is particularly revelatory. Although many performers approach this work from a much less febrile perspective than Kopatchinskaja, there’s no lack of warmth to her playing when the occasion demands it and the sense of fantasy and fluidity that she draws from the solo part holds you spellbound. Peter Eötvös clearly hears this music in the same way and thanks to incisive playing from the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra he makes Bartók’s instrumentation sound extraordinarily visceral.

The other two works featured here are no less compelling. Kopatchinskaja projects considerable frenzy and anguish during the opening sections of Eötvös’s Seven, composed in memory of the Columbia crew in the 2003 space shuttle disaster, before attaining a much calmer elegiac tone near the close. Even more emotionally charged is the Ligeti, where her mercurial approach to the score proves deeply unsettling.


Erik Levi