Bach, Kreisler, YsaØe & Petrovics

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COMPOSERS: Bach,Kreisler,Ysaÿe & Petrovics
LABELS: Budapest Music Center
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Antal Szalai
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Antal Szalai (violin)
The 20-year-old Hungarian violinist Antal Szalai is a student of Pinchas Zukerman in Manhattan, but this is already his fourth disc for the state-sponsored BMC label. The sound he makes is refined and smooth – sometimes one craves more of a sensation of hair scraping against gut, but such matters are down to taste – and he possesses a fabulous technique. In Bach’s D minor Partita he demonstrates an enviable ability to afford the music plenty of space – partly through his strict control of tempo, heard in the Corrente – and a relish for building the broadest of structures in his majestic reading of the famous Chaconne. Meanwhile Kreisler’s Recitativo and Scherzo-Caprice offers him the chance to show off his pyrotechnic skills, and it’s a chance taken well. Ysaÿe’s solo Sonata Op. 27/3 – subtitled ‘Ballade’ and dedicated to Enescu – is equally technically challenging, what with its abundant double-stoppings, but is also a deeper, more thoughtful work which Szalai gives with deep feeling. Emil Petrovics’s gestural, obsessive, fertile First Rhapsody makes for a refreshingly different finale, delivered with plenty of variety of colour, dynamic and articulation. Stephen Pettitt