Baroque Inspirations

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COMPOSERS: Kreisler and Vitali,Stamitz,Tartini,Vivaldi
LABELS: Nimbus
ALBUM TITLE: Baroque Inspirations
WORKS: Works by Tartini, Vivaldi, Stamitz, Kreisler and Vitali
PERFORMER: Hideko Udagawa (violin); Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Nicholas Kraemer
CATALOGUE NO: Nimbus NI 6299

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A former pupil of Nathan Milstein, Hideko Udagawa shares with her legendary teacher a propensity for revealing the violin’s natural soundworld by subtle coaxing rather than applied pressure. This gives her tone a ringing, espressivo directness reminiscent of the ‘golden age’ of Menuhin, Stern and Oistrakh. Whether playing solo versions of Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata and Vivaldi’s Preludio, or stylishly accompanied by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Nicholas Kraemer in concertos by Stamitz (in B flat) and Kreisler (in the style of Vivaldi), alongside Vitali’s popular G minor Chaconne, the emphasis is on cantabile emotional resonance rather than ‘historically informed’ precision and clarity.

Experiencing the enchanted delight of Udagawa’s affectionate phrasing in the Stamitz Concerto brings back memories of Henryk Szeryng’s classic 1960s Mozart recordings with the New Philharmonia. That said, those used to hearing Tartini’s famous Sonata à la Kreisler, played with all virtuoso guns blazing supported by opulent harmonic resonance, will surely be struck by how much more convincing it sounds unaccompanied, especially in the glowing acoustics of St Jude’s Hampstead as expertly captured by producer Philip Hobbs. Arguably finest of all is Kreisler’s Vivaldi pastiche, which fits stylistically hand-in-glove with Udagawa’s ‘old-world’ charm and poetic eloquence.

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Julian Haylock