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Ulf Hoelscher plays Schumann & Szymanowski
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Szymanowski - Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2
“They make an admirable coupling, the two Szymanowski violin concertos, but a demanding one for the soloist. They are both so beautiful that it must be tempting to embellish both with a similarly glowing tone.
They inhabit quite different worlds (they were written 16 years apart) and Zehetmair shows how well they respond to quite different approaches.
In the First, after a rapt solo entry, he uses for the most part a lovely but delicate tone, expanding to athletic incisiveness but not often to lushness.
It all fits very well with Rattle's handling of the orchestra: occasionally full and rich but mostly a sequence of exquisitely balanced chamber ensembles. Generous but finely controlled rubato from both soloist and conductor allows the concerto's improvisatory fantasy to flower; and the quiet close even has a touch of wit to it.
Zehetmair's sound is immediately less ethereal, more robust, for the opening melody of the Second Concerto. This is the sort of tone, you suspect, that he would use in Bartók's Second Concerto, and it points up a vein of Bartókian strength to this work's longer and firmer lines.
Rattle, too, seeks out bolder and more dense colours.
The Paganini Caprices were equipped by Szymanowski not with deferential accompaniments but with independent and quite freely composed piano parts. They change Paganini, even where the violin part is unmodified, into a late Romantic virtuoso, with a hint of Lisztian poetry alongside the expertly pointed-up fireworks of the Twenty-Fourth Caprice; even here Zehetmair is a listening violinist, not one to upstage his excellent pianist. The Romance, the warmest and most luscious piece here, is beautifully done but with a touch of restraint to prevent it cloying. A first-class coupling, and a recording that makes the most of the superb acoustic of Symphony Hall in Birmingham.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Szymanowski - The Complete Music for Violin & Piano
This disc contains some of Szymanowski’s most overtly sensual and vividly gestural music; his lush, exotic textures intensified and crystallized in miniature.
From the early Violin Sonata in D minor onwards, evidence of the composer’s unusual brilliance in writing for solo violin is paramount. The Romance in D major Op 23 (1910), first performed in Warsaw in April 1913, already reveals a considerable advance towards the exotic, strangely inward exaltation of mature works. In the extraordinary Mythes (1915) Szymanowski reaches the zenith of his artistry, creating ‘a new mode of expression for the violin’ and through this an intoxicating, other-wordly musical language.
This recording features the wonderful young violinist Alina Ibragimova, who appears on her third Hyperion disc. Her growing catalogue is receiving the highest critical acclaim. Accompanying her is an equally youthful yet highly distinguished performer, the French pianist Cédric Tiberghien.
“…this is a performance that shows Ibragimova's art at her remarkable best; at one moment poised, the next playing with abandon, she is one of the most expressive violinists around. The beguiling Three Paganini Caprices and with variations on that tune (composed 16 years before Rachmaninov's treatment), and give both players a chance for virtuosic display.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2009 *****
“Alina Ibragimova has become Hyperion's violinist of choice for sensual-esoteric 20th-century repertoire, and she and the super-sensitive Tiberghien make a winning combination… All in all, this repertoire should be high on the priority list for all those interested in 20th-century violin music, and it's not easy to imagine a stronger case being made for it than here.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2009
“Here, Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien produce beautifully characterised accounts, whether in the veiled contours of the Nocturne and the explosion of rhythmic energy that follows it in the Tarantella, or in the refined exoticism of Mythes, with its strange mixture of classical evocation and sensuous indulgence.” The Guardian, 29th May 2009 ****
“Alina Ibragimova wields her intoxicating violin with Cedric Tiberghien’s dappled piano in the febrile splendour of the Polish master Szymanowski. Just when you’re ready to faint after the early Violin Sonata, his Three Paganini Caprices arrive, dazzling us with Ibragimova’s light touch and the duo’s wonderful ability to move as one. More characteristic is Mythes — music of mysterious portent and idiosyncratic beauty.” The Times, 9th May 2009 ****
“We are living in a Second Golden Age of violinists, but even in the context of Hilary Hahn, Leila Josefowitz and Julia Fischer, Alina Ibragimova is an astonishing talent … technically the playing is superb. Intonation is exceptional, and Ibragimova’s timbral range—from the coarse to the silken, from
the richly throbbing to the chastely disembodied—seems unlimited. The music is studded with challenges … she tosses it all off with self-confident authority … this is a major release” International Record Review
“What is immediately striking about Ibragimova's playing is her formidable technique...Tiberghien, a concert soloist in his own right, accompanies Ibragimova in an intuitive and expressive reading of both the music and the required relationship between the instruments.” Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 17th June 2009
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Szymanowski: Violin & Piano Works
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Szymanowski - Music for Violin and Piano
Miriam Kramer (violin) & Nicholas Durcan (piano)
“a violinist of superior natural talent, an exceptionally sensitive interpreter, and a phrase maker of uncommon expressivity” The Strad
(also available to download from $6.00)
Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)