Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, December 12, 2016

A fine violin sonata recital from Vancouver Island


This very fine violin and piano recital disc from Affetto features violinist Elmira Darvarova, who I know from her excellent Vernon Duke Violin Concerto disc from 2014, and pianist Shoko Inoue, who makes her home in my neck of the wooks: Oak Bay, British Columbia. Their Spring Sonata by Beethoven is very good: Inoue provides a solid basis for Darvarova to launch Beethoven's flights of fancy, but with enough rhythmic flexibility to keep things interesting. The violin tone is full but not placed too forward to ruin the special balance between instruments that Beethoven worked so hard to present. Their Franck Violin Sonata, one of the great works of the genre, is presented very much as a classical work, and I feel the loss of some of the passion Franck put into this music. I appreciate the desire to keep things from boiling over, but perhaps the heat isn't turned up quite high enough here. I have no qualms at all, though, with this version of Clara Schumann's 3 Romances, op. 22. This is Romantic music full of powerful emotions, tinged with sadness but bounded by Schumann's determination to live her very difficult life with dignity and good humour. Darvarova and Inoue's presentation of their well-chosen programme is warm and elegant and the Victoria-based studio recording is lifelike if a bit distant. This is from 2013, and the disc appeared since then at CDBaby, but it will be re-released on January 17, 2017. Watch for it!

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