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Violin Unlimited (Baiba Skride)

Baiba Skride (violin) (Orfeo)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Violin Unlimited
Solo Violin Sonatas by Erdmann, Hindemith, Jarnach & Schulhoff
Baiba Skride (violin)
Orfeo C210051   55:15 mins

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Baiba Skride’s new recording is cleverly programmed, showcasing solo violin sonatas by four composers born in the 1890s, all of whom gravitated to Berlin where each of these works was written. But Violin Unlimited is also full of musical rewards, not least from the composer who died younger than the rest of this quartet, his potential snuffed out by the Nazis: the Czech Erwin Schulhoff’s music opens this recital in gripping style with a brief Allegro con fuoco, and the following movements find room for suggestions of Moravian folk music.

After the excesses of late Romanticism, the New Objectivity of 1920s Berlin – not to mention the cost of manuscript paper – meant starker textures, and Bach’s solo violin works became something of a beacon. Reflecting this, the last of Hindemith’s three solo violin sonatas, Op. 31 No. 2, is a work whose beauties are all revealed by Skride. If the other two works here are less remarkable they are worth hearing, as both composers – the French-born Philipp Jarnach and Latvian Eduard Erdmann – remain somewhat obscure. Skride’s championship of a fellow Latvian is welcome, but she is unpartisan and brings the same affection and sense of authority to his music as the rest of the programme.

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John Allison