Prokofiev • Rozsa • Vivaldi • Ysaÿe

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Prokofiev; Rózsa; Vivaldi; Ysaÿe
LABELS: Lietuvos Muziku Sajunga
ALBUM TITLE: Duo Recital
WORKS: Works by Prokofiev, Rózsa, Vivaldi & Ysaÿe
PERFORMER: Vilhelmas Cepinskis, Pavel Berman (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: LMSMBCD-056

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The unsupported textures of Vivaldi’s two-violin Sonata in G, RV 71, sometimes made me want a harpsichord to bolster things up, and that might also have helped to pin down the tempo – in the fast movements there’s a tendency to rush slightly. But this could be seen as part and parcel of the excitement of a live concert, and there’s certainly a flow and sense of risk-taking to all the performances here. The style of playing, with its omnipresent vibrato, is more suited to Ysaÿe’s Sonata for Two Violins, whose opening makes a particularly strong impression in its alternation of passionate unison and rich harmonies. Vilhelmas ?epinskis and Pavel Berman excel in this virtuoso music, and as it proliferates into multiple parts it’s hard to believe that there are only two of them. They also have a nice line in rubato and discreet portamento, which give passion and flexibility to the slow movement, but tend to overload the slighter Prokofiev Duo Sonata, Op. 56: a cooler, more Classical approach would have served better here. But Rózsa’s Sonata, Op. 15a, with its strong tang of Bartók, is idiomatically done, and the audience response enthusiastic – there’s been the odd cough along the way as well, but nothing too intrusive in the context of the close and detailed recording.

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Martin Cotton