Thursday, 24 October 2013

Pavel Sporcl

It seems to be Pavel Week. No sooner had I finished praising the Pavel Haas Quartet playing Schubert, than I find myself greatly admiring Pavel Sporcl playing an admirable selection of Czech salon pieces by well-known Czech violinists: Frantisek Drdla, Jaroslav Kocian, Jan Kubelik, Ferdinand Laub, Frantisek Ondricek, Vasa Prihoda, Otakar Sevcik, and Pavel Sporcl himself (a piece entitled Bohemian Nostalgia). Fourteen highly attractive pieces of Czech music, most of them familiar from previous Czech players such as Josef Suk, Jan Kubelik, Vaclav Hudecek and Vaclav Snitil.

Sporcl is my kind of violinist. He has a casual way of tossing off the most difficult violinistic passages – much as Jascha Heifetz used to do. His playing is of the no-nonsense variety, much in the Czech tradition, and he saves his exteriorising to his pony tail, clothing and blue violin (a Czech violin made in 2006 that sounds superb in Sporcl's hands). The lands of the Czech-Slovaks, Romanians, Hungarians and Ukrainians have produced more top-class violinists than America has produced lawyers. Sporcl is another auto-buy for lovers of fine violin playing. It is also refreshing to have fourteen salon pieces without the inevitable Kreisler, Hora Staccato or Banjo & Fiddle. The recording, and all-important balance between violin and piano, are excellent (Supraphon).

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