Sunday, 15 August 2004

After my recent disappointment with Nina Beilina, it was good to be able to wax lyrical about a new (2004) Arte Nova solo CD from Mirijam Contzen. Contzen's playing holds the interest, with a truly excellent dynamic range, a lightness of bowing and a quite extraordinary accuracy of intonation that shows itself in some exemplary double stopping. She plays Bach (E major sonata), Bartok solo sonata, and the fourth Ysaye sonata. In Bach, the Beilina disc showed some of the drawbacks of the "Russian" school, with its high coefficient of solidity and sonority. Contzen is a product of Tibor Varga, and her sensitivity and tonal variety show one of the strengths of the "Central European" school. An excellent CD (and cheap, too!)

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