Pejačević: Violin Sonata, ‘Slavic’; Schulhoff: Violin Sonata No. 2; plus works by J Achron, Bacewicz, Revueltas etc
Itamar Zorman (violin), Ieva Jokubaviciute, Kwan Yi (piano)
First Hand Records FHR 119 76:03 mins
This fine collection was born out of the restrictions imposed by the 2020 lockdowns, which inspired Itamar Zorman to produce a series of online features entitled Hidden Gems, from which ten pieces emerged that between them encompass an extraordinary stylistic and national diversity.
Two larger works – Dora Pejačević’s post-Romantic ‘Slavic Sonata’ and Erwin Schulhoff’s coruscatingly inventive 1927 Sonata – rub shoulders with a sequence of evocative miniatures, including Joseph Achron’s enchanting Children’s Suite as arranged by Heifetz, Grażyna Bacewicz’s exuberant Oberek No. 1 and the mesmerising forward drive of Wanderings by Zorman’s father, Moshe. There’s also Gao Ping’s hauntingly evocative Questioning the Mountains; the eerie forced harmonics and frenetic dancing of Gareth Farr’s solo Wakatipu; the Debussyan melodiousness of Silvestre Revueltas’s El afilador and Tierra p’a las macetas, William Grant Still’s poetically refined ‘Summerland’ and Ali Osman’s contagiously rhythmic Afromood, with Julia Thompson on tambourine.
None of these pieces are everyday fare, yet Itamar Zorman, winner of the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, and his two distinguished pianist-partners, Ieva Jokubaviciute and Kwan Yi, play with such spontaneously intuitive flair and eloquence that they emerge sounding like bread-and-butter repertoire. Producer Judith Sherman and sound engineer Jeanne Velonis refreshingly allow the piano’s indomitable sonic presence to shine through unimpeded.