- Audio CD (19 Dec. 2008)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: ECM New Series
- ASIN: B00076QG4G
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 328,090 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Leonidas Kavakos performs Bach's Partita No 1 and Sonata No 1 for violin solo and, with Hungarian Peter Nagy at the piano, plays Stravinsky's Duo concertant and Suite Italienne. The results are breathtaking, and bear out the judgement of the world's press on Kavakos's recent ECM recording (also with Nagy), which combined music of Ravel and Enescu.
"Kavakos makes the music howl, shriek, weep or croon, infuses it with humour or passion, takes risks. And he is well on his way to becoming the most famous Greek in the classical world since Callas and Mitropoulos" - The Independent
Johann Sebastian Bach's music was a touchstone for Igor Stravinsky for his entire life. He loved the textural clarity, the lucidity and conciseness of Bach's forms and was very strongly influenced by them. The Stravinsky pieces featured here, both from the early 1930s, are two of the most dazzling examples of his Baroque-inspired modern music. Bach is a reference point in both.
Stravinsky's Duo Concertant, "a masterpiece in every respect worthy of being measured against Bach" (Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich in the liner notes), opens the programme. The dance stylings of Bach's B Minor Partita lead the way to Stravinsky's light and charming Suite Italienne, and the G Minor Sonata delivers Bach's "musical science" in its most concentrated form. The recital demonstrates splendid dramaturgy - "Electrical sparks are flying fast and furiously between the past and the future".
Leonidas Kavakos - (violin), Peter Nagy - (piano)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Kavakos has perfect intonation and flexibility of tonal approach that he demonstrates between the 'baroque sound' for the Bach works and the richly romantic sound for the slower movements of the Stravinsky works. His technique is astonishingly fine and his rapport with Nagy is as sensitive as his solo moments with Bach.
This is one of those intelligent recordings that not only presents superb works well performed but has an idea about programming that is novel and that works! Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, August 05
While a most unique, courageous recital Kavakos / Nagy's advocacy and stellar performances and ECM's recorded sound are bound to win you over. The sound is clear, Kavakos displays excellent tonal qualities and expressive intensity in his play and Nagy is an equal partner all the way. It's rare that such high level musical interaction is caught in the studio. There is a level of intimacy and passion that is caught and the listener is included and rewarded.
Stravinsky's and Bach's works come off as extensions of each other. If anything BAch seems more contemporary than Stravinsky. Kavakos displays a full bodied tonal production and masterful technique. There are no thin piercing notes. Instead there is a fluidity of phrasing on both performer's parts. The Partita dances as does the Suite Italienne. When there are lyrical passages, sheer beauty prevails.
Make no mistake! This is a cd you can play over and over and never get tired or bored. In fact hitting replay lets nuances seep through as every time you hear new ideas. An exceptional recording in which both violin and piano are present and not distant.
If there is a down side you get only one sonata and partita. I know I want to hear Kavakos's take on the complete Sonatas and Partitas of Bach. If you have not seen Kavakos play, there are videos on You Tube. Just go to youtube.com and search Kavakos. Solo Bach is there as well as Sibelius (he was winner of a Sibelius competition) and Brahms.
Any who loves fine violin playing in an intimate setting will want this recording.
"Second Hearing, because once is just not enough!"
- The program is unique and very original juxtaposing Stravinsky and Bach. Very interesting and fresh.
- The Duo Concertant of Stravinsky is pure magic, with moments of "harsh madness" alternating with passages of sweet lyrical beauty, where wild, crazy torrents of "playful" notes change into slow and poignant phrases that linger.
- Unlike the Stravinsky selection (which includes some not very well known works), the partitas of Bach are very well known, indeed. However, what is not so "common" in this case, is the performance of Kavakos, which can be described with one simple word: outstanding.
Highly recommended. Also check out the previous ECM CD of Kavakos/Nagy with music by Ravel and Enescu. Their performance of the "Sonate posthume" of Ravel is the best I've ever heard. The same for the Enescu.