This fine Russian violinist, who studied at the Royal College of Music in
London, came to notice with a memorable appearance in the PLG Young Artists
series (reviewed in Seen&Heard,
January 2000). His debut
CD, made when he was just 23, covers similar repertoire.
I'm not greatly enamoured of minimalism, but Mints made a better case for
Pärt's Fratres (which exists in numerous arrangements) than most
other performances I have encountered. Vassiliev's short pieces traverse
a wide expressive range, as does Penderecki's 1959 Miniatury.
Lutoslawski's virtuoso display piece Subito is one of the composer's
last works, with 16 finalists at the 1994 International Violin Competition
in Indianapolis all credited with its first performances. Gubaidulina's
Dancer on a Tightrope explores amazing sounds inside the piano, produced
with a glass tumbler on the strings. Least known of the composers represented
is Elena Langer, whose Transformations were revised for Roman Mints
in 1998. To end, Schnittke's sour and grotesque distortion of Silent
night makes a bizarre and thought provoking conclusion to a fascinating
Elena Chudinovich, a child prodigy from the Ukraine, also studied in London,
winning the Premier Prix at the Guildhall School of Music. Her contributions
to this very personal recital programme are equally impressive; two young
artists to watch!
Black Box's recording is impeccable and their stylish presentation, in black,
white and silver, is both informative and a pleasure to handle. A very desirable
Peter Grahame Woolf