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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | A Tale Of Three Recitals All At Once

By Norman Lebrecht on November 15, 2019

Lebrecht Listens: A Tale of Three Recitals

Three Recitals

★☆☆☆☆

Vilde Frang and Michail Lifits
🎧 Apple Music | Spotify | Amazon

★★☆☆☆

Gautier Capuçon and Yuja Wang
🎧 Apple Music | SpotifyAmazon

★★★★☆

Diana Tishchenko and Zoltan Fejervari
🎧 Apple Music | Spotify | Amazon

Something’s gone awry with Warner’s scheduling when they issue three violin-piano recitals at the same time (except one of them’s actually on cello). Something’s also skewed with the repertoire selection.

Vilde Frang: Paganini & Schubert
Vilde Frang: Paganini & Schubert (Warner Classics)

Vilde Frang, the Norwegian violinist, returns after a hiatus with an album of Paganini and Schubert. Nobody should play Paganini’s opera trancriptions unless they can deliver shock and awe virtuosity. Frang is not that kind of artist. She chose wrong.

Gautier Capuçon and Yuja Wang: Franck, Chopin (Erato Records)
Gautier Capuçon and Yuja Wang: Franck, Chopin (Erato Records)

Moving on, we try the Franck sonata, which was written for violin and piano, played by the cellist Gautier Capuçon. The pianist is the irrepressible Yuja Wang, who’s good to sell a few copies, but the sonata, which ought to ache away at dark emotions, is lulled by the gentle cello and Yuja burbles away as second fiddle (as it were), hanging slightly behind Gautier at times. The second half of this live concert consists of a couple of Chopin pieces and a Piazzolla finale, all cobbled together like a Black Friday marketing opportunity rather than a coherent album.

Diana Tishchenko and Zoltan Fejervari: STRANGERS in PARadISe (Warner Classics)
Diana Tishchenko and Zoltán Fejérvári: STRANGERS in PARadISe (Warner Classics)

The third release is played by Diana Tishchenko and Zoltán Fejérvári, neither of whom has crossed my deck before. It has a gimmicky title — Strangers in PARadISe, geddit? — and conjoins works by Ravel, Enescu, Ysaye and Prokofiev from their Paris years. Tishchkenko, I read in the small print, is a Ukrainian who won the Long-Thibaud-Crespin Competition and, boy, can she play. The blues middle section of the Ravel 2nd sonata, is a wizard pizzicato stunner whose wispy melodic line could break the heart of a label mogul who doesn’t know his classical from his colon.

It just gets better. The 3rd sonatas by Enescu and Ysaye require titanic technique and the Prokofiev 2nd sonata is no bowl of cherries. They make sweet kitsch out of them. Tishchenko is clearly one to watch. Her pianist Fejérvári is no mean artist. This is what a recital disc should sound like.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, follow him on Slippedisc.com.

Norman Lebrecht’s new book Genius and Anxiety is available January 14, 2020. Pre-order here

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