Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst (1812–65) was one of the leading musicians of his day, a friend of Berlioz, Chopin, Liszt and Mendelssohn, and for Joseph Joachim ‘the greatest violinist I ever heard’. But the popular encore pieces by which Ernst is remembered today represent only a fraction of his output. This second CD – in a series of six presenting his complete violin works for the first time – combines brilliant display and expressive melody: the Otello Fantasy and Rossini Variations show Ernst developing Paganini’s inheritance, and the Boléro, Two Romances and Pensées fugitives show why he was such a favourite in Parisian salons.
“every imaginable technical device [in the Rossini paraphrases] is mercilessly exploited, and this performance meets every challenge head-on...[Lupu's] ability to vary the speed and intensity of his vibrato and subtle use of string crossings, expressive portamenti and finger-substitutions re-creates very accurately a performing style which Ernst and his contemporaries would have instantly recognized.”
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