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COMPOSERS: Dinicu,Enescu,Kurtag,Ligeti,Ravel,Sanchez-Chiong
WORKS: Violin works by Dinicu, Enescu, Kurtág, Ligeti, Ravel, Sanchez-Chiong
PERFORMER: Emilia Kopatchinskaja (violin, viola), Viktor Kopatchinsky (cimbalom), Martin Gjakonovski (double bass), Mihaela Ursuleasa (piano)


Following her extraordinary recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Patricia Kopatchinskaja has returned to the formative influences of Eastern European folk music for her latest release. Working in tandem with her father Viktor, a virtuoso cimbalom player and her mother Emilia, who performs on both the violin and viola, she has assembled a fascinating recital juxtaposing a wide range of concert music with an exhilarating selection of ethnic dances. Some of this latter material may already be familiar to listeners, for example the opening number Ciocârlia which draws upon the same melodies as the final section of Enescu’s First Romanian Rhapsody.

A number of items in the programme really stand out. In her booklet notes Kopatchinskaja is disarmingly honest in confessing that Kurtág did not fully endorse the present performance of his Eight Duos for Violin and Cimbalom, though to my ears the playing is utterly compelling. There can be no contention however over the ravishing account of Enescu’s Sonata No. 3, both Kopatchniskaja and her partner Mihaela Ursuleasa projecting an instinctive feeling for the almost improvisatory musical line.

Finally Ravel’s Tzigane is presented not as an empty virtuoso showpiece but as a work brimming with colour and imagination. In this context Kopatchinskaja’s decision to perform it with the piano part arranged for cimbalom seems fully justified, especially given that the composer originally wrote an alternative version of the accompaniment for luthéal, a piano whose hammers were modified so that they actually sounded like a cimbalom. Erik Levi