Boulez, Berio, Gšritz, Lesage, Stravinsky

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Berio,Boulez,Göritz,Lesage,Stravinsky
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Solo
WORKS: Anthèmes; Sequenza VIII; Silhouettes; Ivresses, songes, sourdes nuits; Élégie
PERFORMER: Julie-Anne Derome (violin)
CATALOGUE NO: ACD 2 2117 (distr. Harmonia Mundi)
If you thought the Bach solo violin suites were a tough and austere listen, imagine a CD made up entirely of contemporary solo violin pieces. Of the 49 minutes of music recorded here, barely five (the Stravinsky Elegy) consist of notes played in the normal way, joined up in familiar harmonies and melodies. The rest explore the astounding variety of sounds you can get from a violin. Not all of the pieces put these nervy twitterings, trills, swoops and tremolos to a genuinely musical use – the Lesage in particular seems a bit thin. But the Berio and Boulez go way beyond a mere catalogue of interesting noises. In music like this it’s an impressive feat just to get round the notes, but Derome does much more than that. Her 17-minute performance of the marvellous Berio Sequenza takes almost five minutes longer than most, turning what can seem a forbiddingly impressive cubist portrait of the violin’s history into a truly epic journey. The Stravinsky Elegy is normally played as a dignified lament – here it sounds like a shadowy voice from the other side of the tomb. I suspect Stravinsky would have hated it, but it’s undeniably striking. Derome is clearly a star in the making. Ivan Hewett