Roslavets: Violin Sonatas Nos 1, 4 & 6; Three Dances

COMPOSERS: Roslavets
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Roslavets
WORKS: Violin Sonatas Nos 1, 4 & 6; Three Dances
PERFORMER: Solomia Soroka (violin), Arthur Greene (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.557903
As a child, Roslavets played violin in a peasant string band. This most challenging of Russian Modernists knew the instrument intimately, and entrusted to it some of his most characteristic utterances. Soroka plays the three authentic surviving sonatas (Nos. 3 and 5 are lost, No. 2 survives only in a reconstruction by Marina Lobanova) and the moody, exotic Three Dances of 1923. Like Sonata No. 1, No. 4 (1917) is an effusive one-movement work of intensity and difficulty, in an Expressionist language that organizes chromaticism through Roslavets’s ‘synthetic chord’ technique. The late three-movement Sixth Sonata, written when Soviet repression had made him virtually a ‘non-person’, is more conventional, resembling lyric Prokofiev, but still a deeply felt piece.

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All these works were issued by Olympia in the 1990s in excellent performances by Mark Lubotsky and Julia Bochkovskaya, but this new Naxos release is in superior sound and Soroka, with the American pianist Arthur Greene, plays with great warmth and authority, allowing the music rather more time to breathe. This is an excellent disc of mostly bold and highly individual music. Highly recommended. Calum MacDonald