Thursday, 10 August 2017

Nazrin Rashidova, and Emile Sauret

I knew little of Emile Sauret (1852-1920) apart from the fact he wrote a famous cadenza for the first movement of Paganini's first violin concerto, so I was most grateful when a good friend gave me a birthday present of the first seven of Sauret's 24 ├ętudes-caprices. How would he stand up against similar works by Paganini, Ernst, Rode, and others?

The short answer is: very well. Sauret's works on this CD are really tough on the violinist, but tough in demanding every variety of bowing, and every possible combination of fingering. Unlike others, Sauret does not demand chimpanzee-like dexterity with melodies in harmonics, or double stopped in harmonics; Sauret's pyrotechnics are subtle and violinistic, not attempts at showmanship. The 61 minutes on this CD pass by very agreeably – probably more so for lovers of violin playing rather than general music lovers. But lovers of fine violin playing will have a veritable feast.

Thanks to Monsieur Sauret, but also thanks to the CD's violinist, Nazrin Rashidova. She copes with the fiendish bowing demands, she copes with swooping from the bottom of the G string to the highest echelons of the E string, she ensures that the music always sounds good, with a highly admirable variation of dynamics. Frankly, it is difficult to think of these pieces being better played. Or sounding better; I imagined Ms Rashidova was playing on some ancient, multi-million dollar Italian violin. But it transpires that her violin is one made by David Rattray, London, in 2009. So well done Emile Sauret, Ms Rashidova's right arm, Ms Rashidova's left hand, Mr Rattray's violin, and Joseph Lamy's bow (1890). This CD (from St Naxos, patron saint of lovers of violin music and playing) is labelled as Volume 1. I await the following volumes with impatience. The excellent and informative liner notes were written by: Ms Rashidova. Obviously a young woman of talent.

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