Bartok: Sonata for Solo Violin; 44 Duos for Two Violins

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bartok
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Sonata for Solo Violin; 44 Duos for Two Violins
PERFORMER: György Pauk, Kazuki Sawa (violins)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.550868
György Pauk’s searingly committed performance of Bartók’s Solo Sonata, the most esoteric work for unaccompanied violin of the first half of this century, is exceptionally fine – not that it necessarily supplants Viktoria Mullova’s Philips recording, which is utterly unique in its communicative strengths. Opening movements entitled ‘Tempo di ciaccona’ and ‘Fuga’ imply sympathies with the great violin works of Bach, but this remains perhaps the most technically and intellectually demanding composition in the solo literature, and György Pauk displays supreme assurance throughout. The 44 Duos (Bartók’s Mikrokosmos for violinists) are winningly characterised by Pauk and Kazuki Sawa, and the Naxos recording is bright and clear. These artists don’t quite eclipse Sándor Végh and Alberto Lysy in the Duos (Astrée Auvidis), but then who could? Michael Jameson

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