Macmillan, Bolcom, Copland, Schnittke, Dresher

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bolcom,Copland,Dresher,Macmillan,Schnittke
LABELS: BMG Catalyst
ALBUM TITLE: Collection
WORKS: Kiss on Wood; Violin Sonata No. 2; Nocturne; Violin Sonata No. 1; Double Ikat-Part 2
PERFORMER: Maria Bachmann (violin), Jon Klibonoff (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 62668 2 DDD
‘Kiss on Wood’, far from being a jokey title, turns out to be the name of James MacMillan’s recent work for violin and piano which here receives its premiere recording – and a very thoughtful piece it is, too, thoughtfully played. This disc of wide-ranging 20th-century repertoire for violin and piano comes from Catalyst, the trend-setting arm of BMG, and trendy packaging might suggest a cover-up of another kind. But Maria Bachmann is a violinist of distinction. Time and time again I was caught up by the sheer beauty of sound and expressiveness of the playing, whether in the Adagio of William Bolcom’s Second Sonata or the Largo of Schnittke’s First Sonata. The gentle ‘smoochiness’ of Balcom’s Summer Dreams and In Memory of Joe Venuti (the great jazz violinist who died as Bolcom was writing his sonata in 1978) is exactly captured by Bachmann with no sense of sentimentality. Indeed the Balcom is a real find, at once smokey and tough. Schnittke’s technically demanding early Sonata particularly allows Bachmann’s pianist Jon Klibonoff and confidence of a chamber-music partnership. Paul Drescher’s synthesised orientalism in his Double Ikat – Part 2 disappoints in an otherwise very valuable disc. Annette Morreau