Enescu/Schulhoff/Bart—k

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COMPOSERS: Enescu/Schulhoff/Bartók
LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Impressions d’enfance; Violin Sonata No. 2; Violin Sonata No. 2
PERFORMER: Gidon Kremer (violin)Oleg Maisenberg (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-13597-2
Not many violin and piano CDs have a cover showing a pair of baby’s feet poking from a pram. But then, Kremer is no ordinary violinist, and everything about this disc reminds us of that fact: the quirky cover and booklet notes, the unusual repertoire (two unknown but wonderful pieces from the Twenties next to an acknowledged masterpiece, the Bartók Sonata) and, of course, the performances. These have all those qualities of fierce energy, melting lyricism and quicksilver changes of mood that are Kremer’s trademark. The baby’s feet refer to Enescu’s Memories of Childhood. These evocations of the Romanian countryside have a wild and tender melancholy. They are harmonically softer than Bartók but equally unsentimental, and exactly suited to Kremer’s impetuous fantasy. Schulhoff’s second sonata is one of those angular, motoric pieces so common in the decade, while the Bartók Sonata is from his most harshly dissonant period. In Kremer’s hands (and Maisenberg’s – let’s not forget his marvellous accompanist), this normally forbidding piece reveals, under its aloof, glacial exterior, a rich vein of poetry. Ivan Hewett

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