Sunday, 22 September 2013

Josef Spacek

Along with neighbouring Hungary and Romania, the Czech-Slovakian lands have produced generation after generation of fine violinists. The latest one to come to my attention is Josef Spacek who first appeared when I heard his very fine CD of pieces by Ernst where he revealed himself as an extremely musical virtuoso. A new CD from him -- with Miroslav Sekera at the piano -- features two of my favourite violin and piano sonatas: the sonata by Janacek, and Prokofiev's first sonata. A lovely CD; Spacek has an immaculate technique and a breathtaking pianissimo. The Janacek sonata comes over as more melancholy and less passionate than usual, featuring a more leisurely approach to the first movement which Janacek marked simply con moto (whatever that may mean. How can music be senza moto?)

So yet another fine duo disc; in addition to the Janacek and Prokofiev works, there are Smetana's two Z Domoviny pieces, plus the Prokofiev solo violin sonata. A word of praise for the Supraphon engineers who have achieved the difficult feat of balancing violin and piano beautifully, with plenty of space round the sound so that even Spacek's examplary pianissimo playing can be enjoyed to the full. Three stars.

Finally, a plea from a friend to anyone who has, or who knows of, a video recording of Henryk Szeryng playing Paganini's third violin concerto (London, 1971, with Alexander Gibson conducting). Anyone able to locate this or offer a copy; please send me a message.

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