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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaya Is A Wildfire

By Norman Lebrecht on February 9, 2018

Deux: Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Polina Leschenko
Deux: Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Polina Leschenko (Alpha-Classics)

★★★★★ (out of five)

I can’t remember when I last heard a violin-piano recital that was as ingenious and exhilarating as this. On the sleeve, the Franco-Hungarian programme looks a bit odd — the Poulenc sonata written for Ginette Neveu in 1943, a Dohnanyi setting of a waltz from Delibes’ Coppélia, the full-on Bartok sonata of 1922 and Ravel’s Tzigane to close.

What do these pieces have in common?

Check this: On April 8, 1922, Bela Bartok gave a recital in Paris with his compatriot Jelly d’Aranyi. Ravel was the page turner for Bartok and Poulenc for d’Aranyi. In the audience were Stravinsky, Szymanowski, Milhaud, Honegger and Roussel. The violinist said it was the most thrilling concert of her life. She had already sat through a long night with Ravel playing him gypsy tunes, which he turned into Tzigane. This single concert fused three distinct cultures.

Only Patricia Kopatchinskaya would have made these connections, and no other violinist could bring them to life with such wildfire exuberance, verging on madcap abandon. The Russian pianist Polina Leschenko, rather than offering a steadying hand with big, bold chords, is a subtle provocateur, forever daring barefoot Pat Kop to do something really wicked.

The Poulenc sonata delivers winsome blues, a mild dig at the Nazi occupation. The Coppélia waltz is undanceable at this speed. The Bartok sonata aches with homesickness for Balkan steppes and Tzigane is absolutely electrifying. There is more voltage on this record than a nuclear power plant on the Seine.

Deux (Patricia Kopatchinskaja & Polina Leschenko) is available Feb. 23, 2018 on iTunes and Amazin.ca.

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

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Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
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Ludwig Van Toronto

FEATURE | That Time When Toronto Was The Piano Building Capital Of The World

By Anya Wassenberg on October 25, 2018

Heintzman, Mason & Risch, Mendelssohn Piano Co., Newcombe Piano Co., Nordheimer, and Gourlay, Winter & Leeming, all major piano manufacturers in Toronto. Where did they all go?
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SCRUTINY | Limp Production Ails Factory Theatre's 'The Men in White'

By Paula Citron on October 21, 2018

While funny at times, abrupt pacing and a lack of depth takes the zip out of the Factory Theatre's 'The Men in White'.
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SCRUTINY | Now You See Her Is Zest, Vigor And Vitality

By Paula Citron on October 22, 2018

Three years in the making, six women perform from the heart, and the action literally flies off the stage.
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