Collection: Hungarian Dances

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Collection: Hungarian Dances
LABELS: Onyx
WORKS: Works for violin and piano by Dohnányi, Kreisler, Monti, Brahms, Vecsey, Liszt, Brahms, Hubay, Bartók, Scarlatescu, Debussy & Hartmann
PERFORMER: Philippe Graffin (violin), Claire Désert (piano, piano luthéal)
CATALOGUE NO: 4039

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A delightful programme of violin sweetmeats with a gypsyesque flavour – sometimes overt as in Brahms’s swaggering Hungarian Dances Nos 2, 6, 7 and 9, and occasionally more subtly nuanced, as in Debussy’s exquisite waltz La plus que lente.

To further intensify the atmosphere, Claire Désert uses a luthéal (an enhanced piano mechanism designed to emulate the sound of the cimbalom) in Monti’s deliriously camp Czardas, parts of Hubay’s Hejre Kati and Scarlatescu’s swirling Bagatelle.

Particularly valuable for Brahms completists is the inclusion of Hymn in Honour of the Great Joachim, the gloriously banal waltz he composed for his friend Joseph Joachim.

Other delights include Kreisler’s cabaret-styled Marche miniature viennoise, Nathan Milstein’s scintillating solo violin transcription of Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No.1, and Arthur Hartmann’s nostalgia-fuelled L’amour, valse bluette.

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Throughout, Graffin blends the music’s various flavours with mouth-watering panache. Bravo! Julian Haylock