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COMPOSERS: Székely/Veress/Bartók
LABELS: Capriccio
WORKS: Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 1; Sonata for Solo Violin; Sonata for Solo Violin
PERFORMER: Kolja Lessing (violin)
In this intriguing recording, Kolja Lessing brings together the solo violin sonatas of three Hungarian composers: Zoltán Székely, whose enchantingly modern work of 1919-20 is recorded here for the first time; Sándor Veress, teacher of Kurtág and Ligeti; and Bartók, with his Sonata of 1944.


Dedicatee of Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto, and an acclaimed champion of the new music of the Twenties and Thirties, Székely received little recognition as a composer. This sonata certainly deserves greater attention: colourful and charismatic, its angular melodies and explosive eloquence are startlingly inventive, particularly the fiery, racing finale. Sándor Veress’s Sonata of 1935 is somewhat more opaque, though no less compelling. Two spiky and fast outer movements frame a lyrical Adagio which echoes a Chassidic song in its chromatic tunings and frequent melismata.


Lessing’s virtuosity is unbounded as he surmounts the extreme technical demands of these works with apparent ease. His reading of Bartok’s Sonata is particularly fine, its dense and brilliant textures bursting with energy: the percussive complexity of the Fuga is gripping, intensifying the profound effect of the single, unhurried lament of the following ‘Melodia’. Throughout, Lessing proves adept at bringing out the diversity and sheer vivacity of these highly expressive works. Catherine Nelson