Wieniawski, Paganini, Kreisler, Rachmaninov, Sarasate, Saint-Sa‘ns & J Williams

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COMPOSERS: Kreisler,Paganini,Rachmaninov,Saint-Sa‘ns & J Williams,Sarasate,Wieniawski
WORKS: Works by Wieniawski, Paganini, Kreisler, Rachmaninov, Sarasate, Saint-Saëns & J Williams
PERFORMER: Maxim Vengerov (violin), Ian Brown (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 557 9162
I suppose that, having moved from Teldec to EMI, it was inevitable that Maxim Vengerov would make a new CD of shorter pieces to supplant his Virtuoso album originally released in 1994. There’s no overlap of repertoire, though most of the composers pop up again – and where would you be in this sort of venture without them? Wieniawski is represented by four works, including the two Polonaises brillantes and the Scherzo tarantelle, and whether the music requires staccato, legato, on or off the string, double stopping or harmonics, Vengerov couples complete security of intonation with an effortless variety of tone and phrasing. Even in the fastest music he always seems to have time for the subtle nuance – that passage on the G string with full tone, or the ornament that animates the line. Ysaÿe’s Caprice is the culmination of this, with each bar seemingly a different length, and both players relishing the rubato. Sometimes there’s a tendency to take things too far: Kreisler’s Liebesleid and Liebesfreud are over-phrased and lose their simplicity, as does Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, though an oversweet vibrato is the culprit here. That’s a tendency in all the slow music, but if it doesn’t bother you, you can relax in the hands of an expert. Martin Cotton