Vassiliev, PŠrt, Penderecki, Langer, Lutoslawski, Gubaudulina & Schnittke

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Gubaudulina & Schnittke,Langer,Lutoslawski,Part,Penderecki,Vassiliev
LABELS: Black Box
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Transformations
WORKS: Works by Vassiliev, Pärt, Penderecki, Langer, Lutoslawski, Gubaudulina & Schnittke
PERFORMER: Roman Mints (violin), Evgenia Chudinovich (piano)
Russian violinist Roman Mints brings together an imaginative mix of 20th-century chamber music on this debut recital disc. Charismatic and stylistically diverse, these works are presented with great interpretative flair, Mints given eloquent support by pianist Evgenia Chudinovich.


Gubaidulina’s Dancer on a Tightrope is striking for its mesmerising effects. The composer explains that the title ‘stems from…the desire to take flight, for the exhilaration of movement, of dance, and of ecstatic virtuosity’. The violin’s ricocheted dance rhythms are echoed by the pianist, tapped out with a glass tumbler on the strings of the piano: Mints and Chudinovich revel in these unusual and fleeting textures and capture its spirit of precarious elation.

Penderecki’s Miniatury are equally compelling, their pared-down gestures sketched out with extraordinary intensity. Schnittke’s distorted rendering of Stille nacht is quirky and appealing, and Elena Langer’s Transformations, from which the disc takes its title, is well-paced as it moves from bright lyricism to wild-edged aggression and back again.


Lutoslawski’s Subito is less successful: there is a rather thin edge to Mints’s tone in moments of extreme technical duress. Pärt’s arrangement of Fratres is also uneven, Mints’s audible shifts of position breaking the flow, although there are moments of great refinement and stillness. Aside from these discrepancies, both Mints and Chudinovich reveal a profound understanding of this intriguing collection of works. Catherine Nelson