Kopatchinskaja plays Duos by Sanchez-Chiong, Holliger, Biber, Cage, Milhaud, Falla, Sotelo, Gibbons, Machaut, JS Bach, etc.

'A bold if intermittently successful experiment'

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Biber,Cage,etc.,Falla,Gibbons,Holliger,JS Bach,Machaut,Milhaud,Sanchez-Chiong,Sotelo
LABELS: Alpha
ALBUM TITLE: Take Two
WORKS: Duos by Sanchez-Chiong, Holliger, Biber, Cage, Milhaud, Falla, Sotelo, Gibbons, Machaut, JS Bach, etc.
PERFORMER: Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin); various musicians
CATALOGUE NO: ALPHA 211

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Whether recording Ligeti and Eötvös with Ensemble Modern, or Beethoven with Philippe Herreweghe’s period instrument Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Patricia Kopatchinskaja is one of music’s free spirits. The eclectic instrumental line-ups for ‘Duos from a Thousand Years of Music History for Young People aged from 0-100’ range from Baroque violin to electronics and turntable, ocarina to harpsichord and toy piano; the repertoire itself straddles a millennium spanning an ethereal and piquantly remote Alleluia from the Winchester Troper to a determined clutch of contemporary works including triple helpings of Heinz Holliger, strategic ear-cleansings from Jorge Sanchez-Chiong’s sometimes overwrought Overclockers series, and Leo Dick’s pungent, carefully calibrated marriage of violin and clarinet The Grasshopper and the Ant – a neat segue after the programmatic menagerie of Biber’s Sonata Representativa.

Some of the disc’s most fruitful music-making involves Kopatchinskaja with clarinettist Reto Bieri, including a feisty conjunction of sparky violin and liquid clarinet in Milhaud’s Jeu. The commendably adventurous programme can make us eavesdroppers on a personal aural journal, with the sound of folk fiddle often present. But like the lavishly produced booklet (addressed to her nine-year-old daughter), the project can stray into self-consciousness; the concluding Bach Chaconne with improvised harpsichord accompaniment is, like the disc overall, a bold if intermittently successful experiment.

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Paul Riley