COMPOSERS: BA Zimmerman,Feldman,Schoenberg,Xenakis
WORKS: Feldman: Spring of Chosroes; BA Zimmermann: Violin Sonata; Schoenberg: Phantasy, Op. 47; Xenakis: Dikhthas
PERFORMER: Carolin Widmann (violin), Simon Lepper (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 476 3310
From mythical Persian rugs to uncertainty theory, this programme displays the variety of ways in which composers have approached works for violin and piano in the 20th century.
It is a disc that balances extremes: the hushed chill of Feldman’s Spring of Chosroes with the excess of Xenakis’s frenetic Dikhthas; the austerity of Schoenberg with the ebullience of BA Zimmerman, though the lack of middle ground means this is a collection of works some listeners will find hard to love.
Carolin Widmann and Simon Lepper respond superbly to the individual challenges of each piece, achieving the highest standards in such different music. Lepper copes admirably with Xenakis’s somewhat mind-boggling rhythms, while Widmann responds with spectacular violin histrionics.
Her playing is exceptionally secure in even the most hair-raising passages; she negotiates the twists and turns of Schoenberg’s expression with astonishing accuracy, at points sounding almost too comfortable.
The sound engineers also rise to the significant challenge of this repertoire: they capture everything from a whisper to a cacophonous roar – the occasionally audible breathing during the Feldman seems only to add to its spring-like freshness.
Just do not expect the sound of birdsong and popular merriment: this spring is still keeping hold of winter. Neil Smith