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Metanoia (Ensemble K)

Manon Galy (violin); Ensemble Sequenza 9.3; Ensemble K/Simone Menezes (Accentus)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

JS Bach: Solo Violin Partita No. 1 – Sarabande; Borodin: Polovtsian Dances; Pärt: In spe; Puccini: Messa di Gloria – excerpts*; Villa-Lobos: Bachianas brasileiras No. 4
Manon Galy (violin); *Ensemble Sequenza 9.3; Ensemble K/Simone Menezes
Accentus ACC 30567   51:39 mins


Simone Menezes has elected to re-record Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances just a year after her debut album Accents (reviewed April 2021), and the results are even more beguiling. She takes more time over the magical opening (Russian pedal-pointing at its most skin-rippling), allowing her gifted group of players more room to shape Borodin’s indelible melodic/harmonic inspiration, while the recording sets the ensemble within a radiantly glowing acoustic.

Violinist Manon Galy, a prize winner at last year’s International Heifetz Competition, plays the Sarabande from JS Bach’s B minor Partita. Her liquid-phrased micro-sensitivity creates a perfect curtain-raiser to the heartfelt Preludio to Villa-Lobos’s Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4, played here with the kind of unbridled, white-hot intensity normally reserved for such epic all-string classics as Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. Arvo Pärt’s In Spe (2010), a hypnotic work for winds and strings, appears to float on air in this performance.

Unexpectedly, the programme opens with Puccini’s Messa di Gloria – or at least the Kyrie and four sections from the Gloria. In this early work, there’s less La bohème-style melodic/harmonic succulence and rather more Verdi, whose Requiem (then only six years old) is brought to mind in several places. Puccini’s youthful inspiration sounds most effective here, elegantly sung and played with scaled-back forces, making you wish you could experience the entire work performed with such devoted intimacy.

Julian Haylock

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