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The Dreams & Fables I Fashion

Elicia Silverstein, Mauro Valli, Michele Pasotti (Rubicon)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

The Dreams & Fables I Fashion
Biber: Mystery Sonatas – The Crucifixion; Passacaglia; Sciarrino: 6 Capricci; Pandolfi: 6 Sonatas for Violin and Continuo; Berio: Sequenza VIII for Violin; JS Bach: Partita No. 2 in D minor – Chaconne
Elicia Silverstein (violin), Mauro Valli (cello), Michele Pasotti (theorbo)
Rubicon RCD1031    56:27 mins


Taking the first line of a Metastasio sonnet for the title of her debut album, Elicia Silverstein has woven an aural pattern in which she links the 17th-century stylus phantasticus with the Italian avanguardia of the second half of the 20th century. In so doing, Silverstein demonstrates a connective element in the two periods which could so easily have been pretentious but which, aided by her own lucidly explanatory essay, is not.

Silverstein begins her recital with two pieces drawn from Biber’s Mystery Sonatas, ‘The Crucifixion’ (No. 10), and the post-scriptive and profoundly contemplative ‘Passacaglia’ for unaccompanied violin. From these she leads the listener, almost seamlessly, into Salvatore Sciarrino’s Caprice No. 2 from his Sei Capricci. Its abstract invocation of natural sounds takes us, in turn, to the strikingly imaginative world of mid-17th century Pandolfi Mealli. The bold and sometimes surprising intervals of the opening adagio of his sonata La Cesta sit comfortably alongside the Sciarrino. Silverstein has opted for a simple cello continuo without keyboard which works well. As she herself remarks, the fiery A which concludes the sonata is taken up by Berio’s Sequenza VIII. The piece is built around two notes, A and B, the composer describing it as a tribute to the Ciaccona of Bach’s Partita in D minor. It is the poetry and structural complexity of Bach’s piece which, in a sense, provides the raison d’être of Silverstein’s conceptually original programme. Her playing is warm and technically secure, with faultless intonation and, above all in the Biber and the Bach, she engages and touches us with eloquent articulation.


Nicholas Anderson