Collection: Fratres

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COMPOSERS: Corigliano,Glinsky,Messiaen,Moravec,Part
LABELS: BMG/Catalyst
WORKS: Sonata for Violin and Piano; Fratres; Sonata for Violin and Piano; Toccata-Scherzo; Praise to the Immortality of Jesus
PERFORMER: Maria Bachmann (violin), Jon Klibonoff (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 61824 2 DDD

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Contemporary music for violin and piano rarely gets a hearing, but BMG’s recently launched ‘Catalyst’ label here presents four new works, plus Messiaen’s Praise to the Immortality of Jesus, played by an energetic duo team who are clearly no strangers to the medium. The leading item is John Corigliano’s Violin Sonata, a hard-driven yet essentially gracious structure, in which phrase follows phrase in well-ordered sequence.

Corigliano’s lyric sense comes to the fore in the Andantino, the most obviously American of the work’s four movements. The others, proceeding in Stravinskian bumps and jitters, are more transparently Neo-classical. Paul Moravec’s Violin Sonata comes from the same stable, though its manners are more refined – closer to the elegant British style of Berkeley and Boulanger. 

As might be expected, his textures are finely judged, assisted by the well-balanced and blended recording that refutes, for the studio at least, Stravinsky’s contention that the partnership of bowed and struck strings is one of incompatibles.

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There’s a further helping of traditional virtuosity from Albert Glinsky’s Toccata-Scherzo. But Fratres, Arvo Pärt’s sombre variation set that gives this selection its title, projects an opposite vision: a world of shadows and enchantment.Messiaen’s intensity glows as heightened melody; Pärt’s ardour is frozen in ritual, the energy of simple chords and rhythmic figures hauntingly dissolved into silence. Nicholas Williams