I cannot imagine the
Busoni sonatas being done with better
spirit than by Lev and Raekallio. If
I have a criticism it relates to Lev's
violin tone which, 'under the microscope',
is not as pure as it might be tending
towards a slightly 'shredded' effect
when exposed. It is as if fine filaments
sometimes float at the edge of her note
production. Set against that slightest
of demerits a complete identification
with the music.
Busoni dedicated the
extremely attractive Second Sonata,
here recorded in ten tracks, to
the memory of his friend the composer-violinist
Ottokar Novacek; remember his Perpetuum
Mobile. The Sonata was premiered
by Ottokar's brother Viktor in Helsinki
in 1898 with Busoni at the piano. The
music is predominantly Beethovenian,
Olympian and lofty without severity
and with folk and gypsy material infused
from time to time.
The First Sonata
is similarly Beethovenian with excursions
into Lisztian bravura in the finale.
Generally this adopts a happily exuberant
style well put across by the two soloists.
Think of the Beethoven Spring Sonata
and then add a pinch of Bruch's
lyricism and Liszt's pyrotechnics. Lastly
comes the curiosity of the ten year
old Busoni's C major sonata.
The Andante has a Gothic flavour
mixed with a fey femininity while the
concluding Allegro Vivace dances
with Mozartian joie-de-vivre.
The Siberian-born Lara
Lev studied with Yuri Yankelevich and
Vladimir Spivakov in Moscow. She has
recorded the Bach Sonatas and Partitas
for Warner Apex (0927-48307-2; 0927-48308-2).
It will be interesting to see what colleagues
make of those recordings.
Experience the singing
classicism of Busoni's two numbered
violin sonatas uniquely coupled with
an extremely early work of his jewelled
childhood, all ringingly performed by
Lev and Raekallio.