Virtuoso

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Franck,JS Bach,Tartini & Wieniawski
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Franck: Violin Sonata; plus works by JS Bach, Tartini & Wieniawski
PERFORMER: Ray Chen (violin), Noreen Polera (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: Sony 88697723202

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The sound is generous and realistic, as it is on the somewhat mistitled Virtuoso album. Franck’s Sonata, the main work, was one of the pieces that led Chen to victory in the 2009 Queen Elisabeth Competition. Hardly surprising, if he played it with the affection, control and freedom that he finds here, partnered ably by Noreen Polera. The CD opens with Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata, in Kreisler’s arrangement, which Chen gives the full Romantic treatment. That spills over into Bach’s Chaconne, which might raise some eyebrows nowadays, especially in the use of vibrato, although the ebb and flow of the music is beautifully judged. Chen’s more at one with the spirit of Wieniawski: in the Légende and the Variations on an Original Theme his musical and technical assurance find full expression. These are hugely exciting debut albums. Martin Cotton