Szymanowski, Britten, Grieg

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Britten,Grieg,Szymanowski
LABELS: EMI Debut
WORKS: Violin Sonata in D minor
PERFORMER: Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne (violin), Carole Presland (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDZ 5 72825 2
Zambrzycki-Payne was BBC Young Musician of the year in 1996, and his CD was made the following year. I question the fairness of EMI in keeping a recording on the shelf for so long at a time in an artist’s career when he is likely to be developing rapidly: although the playing here is accomplished, it lacks that final measure of individuality which has to be there in today’s crowded market. I particularly hope that Zambrzycki-Payne would now have the courage to be more outgoing in his use of rubato and variety of tone colour, especially in the Szymanowski and Britten – though even the more straightforward Grieg could do with an extra adrenalin rush at the climaxes.

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Weilerstein (recorded in 1998…) has chosen to go for a series of short contrasted pieces as her calling card. She tears into Paganini’s Rossini Variations with incredible verve, but there’s a hardness of tone which persists into Dvorák’s Silent Woods and spoils the repose, as it does (together with fast tempi) in Fauré’s Après un rêve and Saint-Saëns’s Swan. And although there’s some inwardness in parts of Falla’s Suite populaire espagnole, by the end I was exhausted by the febrile intensity of it all. Martin Cotton