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Vengerov Plays Bach, Shchedrin, Ysaye

Bach/Shchedrin/Ysaye Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 Oct 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00006H1EI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,576 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sonata no. 2, op. 27 in A minor - Eugene Ysaye
2. Sonata no. 3, op. 27 in D minor - Eugene Ysaye
3. Sonata no. 4, op. 27 in E minor - Eugene Ysaye
4. Sonata no. 6, op. 27 in E major - Eugene Ysaye
5. Echo Sonata, op. 69 - Rodian Shchedrin
6. Sonata (Toccata and fugue) in A minor, BWV565 - JS Bach, ed. Bruce Fox-Lefriche
7. Balalaika, op. 100 - Rodian Shchedrin

Product Description


The problem with Maxim Vengerov Plays Pieces by Bach, Shchedrin and Ysaÿe, is that Vengerov has achieved so much so young. In his 20s, he has recorded most of the major violin concertos as well as a good number of sonatas and virtuoso numbers.

Vengerov has been performing the Ysaÿe sonatas in concert halls in the early 21st century. These are fiendish works that test all aspects of the violinist's technique but fail to daunt Vengerov. In the hands of a lesser player, the sonatas can sound like technical studies; Vengerov, however, brings them alive with his innate musicality. He attacks the Bachian opening of the second sonata with gusto and maintains that spirit throughout the three further sonatas.

Rodion Shchedrin's Echo Sonata, the most substantial work on the disc, is not for the fainthearted either, but Vengerov relishes its extraordinary demands with glee. Rounding off the programme are Bruce Fox-Lefriche's arrangement of Bach's Toccata and Fugue BWV565 (the sleevenote suggests that the work began life as a solo violin sonata), a recording that demands repeated listening, and a live recording of Shchedrin's pizzicato miniature Balalaika, a gem of a piece which Vengerov delivers with his usual wit and panache. --Rebecca Agnew

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Next best thing! 27 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Having experienced the "real thing" at the Barbican, London, in October 2002 this CD is the next best thing. It is impossible to capture the excitement, charisma and the pure personality and passion of Mr Vengerov's live performance on a CD, but this goes a long way towards it.
4 of Ysayes solo sonatas, so very different in character (each reflecting the style and dedicated to a fellow violinist), and each characterisation can be heard in the interpretation here. You could almost believe that in no 4 it was Fritz Kreisler, except that it is inevitably overlaid with the special character that can only be Vengerov.
The Shchedrin "Echo Sonata" has to be the highlight. Echos of a bygone age intertwined with the modern fusion of today's world, and echos of Bach creatively embroidering the piece, until at the very end the violin actually has to be detuned below the G as the sonata reaches it conclusion.
Any lover of violin music in its purest form will not be disappointed, and I am sure eager to be there when Mr Vengerov next graces us with a live performance.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vengerov will make you stop breathing ... 8 Dec 2004
Format:Audio CD
... with these astounding pieces. No violinist should be without them.
Glorious, glorious music making. You thought you liked the Bach 1st. Partita? Listen to this, and gasp!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A triumphant release in every way 6 Nov 2002
By Vincent Lau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Inspired by Bach's sonatas and partitas for solo violin, Eugene Ysaye wrote his six sonatas for solo violin in 1924. Not only are these pieces brilliantly constructed and hugely effective for the instrument (Ysaye was, after all, one of the great violinists of his age), they do indeed develop out of Bach's magnum opus, only that in writing his own set Ysaye has pushed the technical limits of the instrument to previously undreamt-of heights. Besides, they are also obviously products of a more romantic age, as there is often an air of improvisation and romantic passion in the writing.
Four of these sonatas, Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 6, are included in this new EMI recording. They are originally dedicated by the composer to such eminent violinists as Jacques Thibaud, Georges Enesco, Fritz Kreisler and Manuel Quiroga respectively. Here these technically spectacular and spiritually imposing masterpieces have found a magnificent modern advocate in Maxim Vengerov, whose playing, though perhaps different in style to those luminous dedicatees of these works, is technically immaculate and shiningly stylish. The ranges of dynamics and tone colour that the young Russian violinist commands are nothing short of staggering, and when these are put to the service of an intellectually probing, individualistic and yet spontaneous mind, we are hearing something that is really quite exceptional. There is also a sort of intensity and ardour in the performances that is literally breath-taking. More or less the same can be said for the performance of the Sonata in A minor, which actually is a transcription (by Bruce Fox-Lefriche) of the famous D minor Toccata and Fugue for organ, on which some scholars have expressed doubted as to whether the piece indeed came from the hands of JS Bach. Some are of the view that the piece actually began its life as a sonata in A minor for solo violin and Vengerov here plays this re-construction with panache, expression as well as a keen sense of proportion, even though I personally prefer him doing the piece on a modern violin rather than the (stylistically more accurate) baroque instrument that he employs specifically for this track.
Two works by the contemporary Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin are included here. The more substantial one is the Echo Sonata, which Shchedrin wrote in 1985 as a commemorative showpiece for Bach's tercentenary. It is a fiendishly difficult but mostly reflective modern piece with some eerie-sounding soft passages and quotes from Bach's solo pieces. The 15 minute work is not easy to bring off at all, but it is here effortlessly conquered through Vengerov's sovereign bowing and awesome musicianship. The violinist not only negotiates each and every technical hurdle with consummate ease, he also tosses off the notes with great elan and conviction and invests the contrasting sections with much light and shade, which renders the piece even more interesting than it may seem on paper. The recording ends (very appropriately) with the only "live" recording included in this release, a performance of Shchedrin's Balalaika taped from a recital at London's Barbican Hall in 2000. Vengerov delivers this pizzicato piece, dedicated to him by the composer, with aplomb and a disarming sense of humour, which draws much laughter from the audience as well as thunderous applause at the end. In fact, such applause is not out of place at all even in the context of the entire album, for it is difficult to resist from voicing one's strong approval after hearing 66 minutes of such scintillating and supremely musical performances on the solo violin.
These treasurable performances are further enhanced by a good recording quality ¡V Vengerov's violin tone sounds fuller and more beautiful than ever. A triumphant release in every way.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a happy medium.. 29 Nov 2002
By LuelCanyon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
You get the feeling Vengerov doesn't play the Ysaye, he channels it! This is stupefying music making, and the Ysaye Sonatas especially, hardly known, are musically brilliant pieces. Even apart from the Fox-Lefriche transcription, Bach is all over this disc. The secret metaphysic of Bach appears like a fragrance in whatever Vengerov plays; a violinist's musical construct must be endowed with Bach's rhythmic consciousness or it won't endure, and Vengerov loves the Master almost more in Ysaye than in Bach! A rich Bachian rhythmic core in this Russian master's violin playing is the beauty of this recording. It's curiously an effect even more accessible in his live performances, the physical dimensions of his playing are perfectly aligned, &all you get is freedom and joy in the music he makes. Reminiscent of Oistrakh in that way. This is one of Vengerov's best recordings musically, and the sonics are play-it-AGAIN captivating. Get it to hear the Ysaye sonatas, but the rest of the program also rewards. The Shchedrin sonata is shocking and pure, and Vengerov extracts all the juice, delivering a major performance of it. I agree it's interesting how much the live encore doesnt jar or intrude, it's a heady reminder of the art of the stage, and leaves a musical imprint too. While he's got a strapping pop star kind of personal charm, Vengerov is a musician of tremendous intellect and heart, distilling sheer music and refining an extraordinary art, qualities rampant hereabout.. check it for yourself.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars transcends the years 17 July 2004
By Jonathan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Vengerov knocks it out of the park. The Ysaye is stunning, especially 2 and 3. The most interesting feature is the tonality and feelings of the pieces, which are markedly similar, across composers. The Ysaye, Shchedrin, and Bach all capture a more ancient and common tonality and feel, and have an almost primitive and rustic feel. A must.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars terrible recording; aggressive playing 7 Nov 2011
By Doctor Whom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Maxim, how can you let the recordists do this to you?
Among the reasons for classical music's decline is how it is recorded - multi-miked tracks destined for assembly at a mixing board. Listening to several of Vengerov's recordings with orchestra, his steely, over-close sound can be forgiven as a recording artifact. (The Britten and Walton are not too bad). One can attribute the lack of individuality of playing and of sound to the recording style.
But what is one to make of his solo recital album? How can a solo violin be made to sound like the Wehrmacht in full force? The sound is ten feet tall and hard as nails. Has any violin sounded like this in real life? The recording is extremely close, and then drowned in phony ambience to make it sound like it is actually somewhere -- in the abstract halls of heaven.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great playing, great instrument, great recording... 29 Jun 2014
By Mike Chuang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Vengerov used his then "new" 1727 Kreutzer Stradivari violin. The hall mark of these late Strad violins is its robust and potent lower end. It really comes through in Vengerov's playing. Vengerov milked as much as any given violin can give. His playing of Ysaye is one of my favourites along with Leila Josefowicz. Strongly recommending it.
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