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Philippe Graffin is the latest violinist to join ONYX, after several outstanding discs of rare French and English repertoire for labels such as Hyperion and Avie. This new recital brings together the mesmerising intensity of Gypsy violin playing with classical composers’ response to it.
Released to coincide with a notable novel called Hungarian Dances by writer and journalist Jessica Duchen. She explains: “When I asked Philippe Graffin, a treasured friend and colleague, to check the manuscript of Hungarian Dances for violinistic errors, I little dreamed he’d respond by making this recording: a CD inspired by the novel. Yet the novel was partly inspired by a CD – Philippe and Claire’s beautiful recital ‘In the Shade of Forests’, [Avie Records, rave reviews worldwide] evoking the spirit of the archetypal wandering Gypsy violinist”.
Philippe’s recital is loosely based around the book but is also designed to work as a programme in its own right with several pieces chosen only for the recording including rarities by such composers as Von Vecsey, Hubay, Scarlatescu and Arthur Hartmann.
Claire Désert is well-known in France for several solo CDs for FNAC and other labels and here plays both piano and piano luthéal, the ‘prepared piano’ that Ravel had made for Tzigane in 1919 and which imitates the sound of a Hungarian cimbalom to striking effect in many of these pieces.
“A delightful programme of violin sweetmeats with a gypsyesque flavour… Throughout, Graffin blends the music's various flavours with mouth-watering panache. Bravo!”
“Very ably abetted by Claire Désert, Graffin does his utmost to conjure up the style and effect of Hungarian gypsy fiddling. His account of Monti's Csárdás is embellished with improvised ornaments and fancy tricks - a magnificently evocative impersonation... an enthralling, exceptional recital, to be thoroughly recommended.”
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