Sunday, 31 October 2004

I seem to have mastered the art of preparing and cooking baby squid. Delicious! And my twelve bottles of pinot noir d' Alsace (Majestic, Cirencester) turn out to be excellent. The gastronomic front looks good. Listened to Grigori Feyghin playing the Myaskovsky violin concerto. This really is a worth edition to the long list of 20th century violin concertos. Feyghin plays brilliantly, à la Oistrakh. Not much individuality, but plenty of technique and a good sound. Also, obviously, thoroughly in tune with the music. Perhaps the new generation will take up Myaskovsky (as has Repin) along with the violin concertos of Britten, Dvorak and others.

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

A really marvellous performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto from Janine Jansen (recorded off-air). She really is my kind of violinist! Enthusiastic, musical, and no-holds-barred. She doesn't draw attention to her lovely violin, nor to her beautiful sound but just gets on and plays like the devil. A superb performance. Only drawback is the sing-along baritone (presumably Richard Hickox, the conductor) who really does detract from Jansen's performance. Shoot him !
However, Janine Jansen certainly joins Elisabeth Batiashvili and Akiko Suwanai on my young female violinist rostrum. A major talent.

Friday, 8 October 2004

On a second hearing, I was much impressed with the début CD of Jack Liebeck (with Katya Apekisheva on the piano). One of an interesting new generation of performers. On the CD he plays the second Prokofiev sonata, Chausson's Poème (impressive and not plagued by slow playing), Saint-Saën's first sonata, and Ysaÿe's third unaccompanied sonata. A most enjoyable recital. As I have said before: violin playing seems to be in safe hands. And Liebeck, thank goodness, does not endulge in the constant "fat", rich tone that so many violinists of the Russian-American-Israeli school appear to think is de rigeur.

Monday, 4 October 2004

Very much enjoyed the violin playing of Andreas Röhn this weekend. On his DG "Début" CD, the Handel sonata is exceptional; not baroque playing, thank goodness, but highly intelligent and with an excellent feeling for dance rhythms. Then on to Spohr's Gesangszena concerto (No.8) a work that challenges intelligence and the ability to vary tone, volume and colour. No one does it quite like Heifetz, of course. But Röhn -- like Hilary Hahn -- is pretty enjoyable. The world is certainly rich in violinists.
Otherwise, it was a good double Richter CD (Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin, Prokofiev, etc). Still enjoying the G minor violin concerto of Otar Taktakishvili. Quite as good as Britten, Walton etc -- and better than many. Lots of moules marinières to eat, and a large crab. Good weekend.