Benjamin Beilman: Spectrum

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Franz Schubert,Fritz Kreisler,Igor Stravinsky,Leoš Janácek
LABELS: Warner
ALBUM TITLE: Spectrum
WORKS: Schubert: Sonata in A, D574; JanáΩek: Violin Sonata; Stravinsky: Divertimento; Kreisler: Viennese Rhapsodic Fantasietta
PERFORMER: Benjamin Beilman (violin), Yekwon Sunwoo (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: Warner 2564600897

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In the opening phrases of the Schubert, Benjamin Beilman is unashamedly Romantic, with vibrato used throughout, discreet portamentos and a seamless legato. The up-front sound exposes some harshness in Yekwon Sunwoo’s tone in louder passages, and also reveals Beilman as a heavy sniffer. But there’s no doubting the technical accomplishment of both players, and the scherzo is a tour de force, although more charm is needed in the andantino.

The JanáΩek suits them better, and Beilman widens his tonal range to project some appropriately earthy sounds, although I’m not always convinced by his pacing, especially in the elusive, fragmentary final movement, where the enormous range of colour sometimes seems to be a distraction rather than a unifying force. The dance-like character of the Stravinsky Divertimento from La baiser de la fée is well caught, with some skittish playing in the Scherzo, and Beilman’s vibrato is perfectly attuned to Stravinsky’s Tchaikovsky-based homage in the more lyrical moments. Sunwoo could produce more rounded tone, which he manages in the Kreisler, its nostalgic Viennese mood captured here with affection and precision.

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Martin Cotton