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Antonio Bazzini, born in Brescia in 1818, was one of the great violinist-composers of the 19th century. After encouragement from Paganini following an encounter in 1836, he lived the life of a touring virtuoso for many years. Eventually returning to Italy, he was appointed first professor and then director of the Milan Conservatory and was a teacher of Mascagni and Puccini.
Though he composed in larger forms, he is best remembered as the composer of numerous salon pieces for violin and piano, the most famous being La Ronde des lutins (The Dance of the Goblins), but also including many character pieces of various descriptions.
Antonio Bazzini: Calabrese, Op. 34, No. 6
Calabrese, Op. 34, No. 6
Antonio Bazzini: 3 Morceaux lyriques, Op. 41
No. 1. Nocturne
No. 2. Scherzo
No. 3. Berceuse
Antonio Bazzini: Le Carillon d'Arras, Op. 36
Le Carillon d'Arras, Op. 36
Antonio Bazzini: 2 morceaux de salon, Op. 12
No. 1. Le Depart
No. 2. Le Retour
Antonio Bazzini: 2 Grandes Etudes, Op. 49
No. 1. Etude in D major
No. 2. Etude in G major
Antonio Bazzini: 3 Morceaux en forme de sonate, Op. 44
No. 1. Allegro giusto
No. 2. Romanza
No. 3. Finale: Allegro vivace
Antonio Bazzini: La ronde des lutins, Op. 25
La ronde des lutins, Op. 25
“The familiar piece here is the Ronde des lutins, a much-recorded perpetuum mobile, whose showy style of writing informs a great deal of the music, alternating with a line in sentimental melodies. Chloë Hanslip responds to both sides of Bazzini, and she's always rhythmically alert, whether in the rubato in the slower pieces, or the control of the cascades of notes in the faster ones.”
“Among 19th-century violinist/composers, Antonio Bazzini was probably the most successful in escaping from exclusive specialisation in the virtuoso repertoire. His compositions include operas, sacred music, orchestral works and chamber music, so it's rather sad that he should be remembered today by a single piece, the scintillating Ronde des lutins ('Dance of the Goblins'). Chloë Hanslip demonstrates most persuasively that, even among his violin showpieces, it isn't a one-off. The items in her recital may make for fairly undemanding listening, the idiom may not be strikingly original, but Bazzini has the knack of integrating post-Paganini virtuoso features into a romantic style that's sophisticated, subtle and tasteful. The cantabile items are very appealing – the central Romance in the Trois morceauxen forme de sonate could rival the ubiquitous Massenet Méditation were it to become better known – and the Op 49 Etudes are particularly interesting, the first a moto perpetuo with very original accented dissonances, the second a delightful scherzo with elegant double-stopping and lively cross accents, and an unexpectedly lyrical central section. Hanslip certainly has the confidence and technique for this repertoire: more importantly, she's able to engage with each piece, bringing out its particular expressive character. For the Romance in Op 44, for instance, she produces a soft, sensuous tone, quite different from her sound in the plaintive, ornate Nocturne from Op 41. Caspar Frantz accompanies very stylishly throughout, and Hanslip's musical personality, graceful and with spontaneous verve, brings everything to life. It's lovely violin-playing!”
Awards Issue 2008
“…Bazzini has the knack of integrating post-Paganini virtuoso features into a romantic style that's sophisticated, subtle and tasteful. Hanslip… has the confidence and technique for this repertoire: more importantly she's able to engage with each piece, bringing out its particular expressive character. It's lovely violin playing!”
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