Reinhardt, Portal, Ravel, Debussy, Wieniawski, Korcia, Bart—k, Klein, Legrand, Massenet, Denza

COMPOSERS: Bartok,Debussy,Denza,Klein,Korcia,Legrand,Massenet,Portal,Ravel,Reinhardt,Wieniawski
ALBUM TITLE: Doubles Jeux
WORKS: Works by Reinhardt, Portal, Ravel, Debussy, Wieniawski, Korcia, Bartók, Klein, Legrand, Massenet and Denza
PERFORMER: Laurent Korcia, Florin Niculescu,Nemanja Radulovic (violin), Michael Wendeberg (piano), Michel Portal (bandoneon), Tatjana Vassiljeva (cello), Christophe Lartilleux (guitar), Jean-Philippe Viret, Pierre Boussaguet (bass)
‘I have a preference for the improbable, or what seems improbable, that sphere apart from where nothing is expected, where very often spontaneity is most likely to emerge.’ With these words violinist Laurent Korcia introduces his second extraordinarily charismatic compilation album in which tantalising morsels of Stéphane Grappelli and Michael Legrand rub shoulders with Massenet, Wieniawski, Ravel, Bartók and Gideon Klein. It’s certainly an eclectic mix, Korcia donning the mantle of the fluent jazz violinist, café musician, virtuoso soloist and sensitive chamber musician with considerable aplomb and total conviction. There’s plenty of edge-of-the-seat playing here – some pulsating Bartók Duos, an idiosyncratic but totally compelling Blues movement from Ravel’s Violin Sonata and a menacing account of the Allegro con fuoco from Klein’s Duo on this recording. However French rock singer Jean-Louis Aubert’s grating vocal delivery of Massenet’s ‘Élégie’ and ‘Si vous l’aviez compris’ by Luigi Denza is hardly likely to appeal to those used to hearing these works performed by an operatic singer. At the centre of this outstandingly engineered disc lies a high-voltage performance of the complete Debussy Violin Sonata in which Korcia and his excellent partner Michael Wendeberg revel in the music’s quixotic changes of mood, defiant and passionate at some moments, then in turnscapricious, ironic and other-worldly. It’s an interpretation that matches the classic 1977 Kyung Wha Chung/Radu Lupu account on Decca in its full-frontal intensity. Those seeking a more measured and introspective view of the work, however, will find greater subtleties in the playing of Frank Peter Zimmermann and Alexander Lonquich on EMI. Erik Levi