Saturday, 21 May 2016

Violinist Repertoire

It is difficult for fine musicians to achieve notice in the overcrowded modern world, where every man and his dog can commission a recording or post on YouTube. Some try the eccentric route; Nigel Kennedy and Gilles Apap come to mind, in the violin world. Many try the experimental modern contemporary composer-of-the-moment route, where competition and comparisons are limited; Patricia Kopatchinskaja comes to mind, obtaining press coverage with an enfant terrible image. Some violinists still try the well-trodden route of Tchaikovsky-Mendelssohn-Bruch-Sibelius, where they promptly come up against Heifetz, Kreisler, Milstein, Oistrakh, and 200 others.

I fully appreciate that it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a mark in “standard” repertoire. But nearly three hours of recorded music for violin and orchestra that arrived chez moi yesterday show one does not need to resort to cacophonic experimental compositions in order to do something different. Two of yesterday's CDs contain three violin concertos of Christian Sinding, plus his better known Suite and a couple of shorter pieces. The third CD contains seven substantial pieces for violin and orchestra by Eugène Ysaÿe. Pretty well none of the three hours of music here is well known, yet all the works are worth getting to know. Violinists in the Ysaÿe are Amoury Coeytaux and Svetlin Roussev; the Sinding features Andrej Bielow.

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