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The forty-year friendship between Brahms and Joseph Joachim, violinist and composer, was one of the most significant and fruitful relationships in nineteenth-century music. Their admiration of each other’s artistry was profound and unwavering, and bore sustained creative fruit on Brahms’s side of which his Violin Concerto and Double Concerto are only the most famous examples.
Joachim’s transcriptions of Brahms’s famous Hungarian Dances – originally written for piano duet or solo piano – are technically challenging for any violinist, and superbly idiomatic, constituting a kind of gypsy ‘Art of the Violin’. They represent the summit of Brahms’s ‘Hungarian’ art, and Joachim’s powers of transcription match them with violin writing of the greatest fastidiousness and authentic feeling. The brilliant Hagai Shaham, acclaimed for his recordings of Hubay, is the ideal performer.
24th May 2008
“Joseph Joachim's violin arrangements of Brahms's Hungarian Dances more often than not appear singly as concert encores, so it is good to have the whole set presented here, and especially in virtuoso performances from the Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham that get to the heart of the style.
If in musical terms Joachim's own set of variations pales by comparison, this is hardly the fault of Shaham, nor of his expert duo partner Arnon Erez: the playing fizzes with energy and suavity.”
“Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez complement each other perfectly here, evincing fire, fury, and sweet sadness.”
“This is a magnificent… Shaham and Erez… playing together with such ease that it's easy to forget the art and care that have gone into achieving such beautiful ensemble.”
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