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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

Ottorino RESPIGHI; Ildebrando PIZZETTI

Violin Sonatas
  Elmar Oliveira (violin); Robert Koenig (piano);
(recorded 10 April 1998)

 ARTEK AR-0001-2 [54.40]
Crotchet  Amazon UK   Amazon USA



These are two Italian romantic sonatas of post-Great war vintage. They bear not a trace of desiccation or jazz influence. They will appeal to those who love their John Ireland sonatas or indeed the Franck though that is of course from a much earlier era.

Respighi's sonata is floridly decorative and Oliveira shoots the passionate rapids with consummate style. You may well know the Concerto Gregoriano. The sonata does not have the sweet simplicity of that work. It is a romantic cauldron the turmoil of whose first movement is offset by a very strong introspective andante followed by a strenuous passacaglia which is given to dreamy rhapsodising (4.49 track 3). The Pizzetti is another work of high romance seemingly touched with Hungarian accents but easily accessible. Oliveira, the singer, clearly knows how to pitch and toss the line in this amalgam of Waltonian ferment and stuttering dance. The Preghiera is a heartfelt invocation speaking of those fallen in the Great War. It is contemporaneous with Herbert Howells' chamber works to which it is a distant but obvious cousin. It avoids the asperities of the Frank Bridge piano sonata (another Great War generated work). The final vivo e fresco hums and bounces with dance rhythms.

There is a high calorific value to Oliveira and Koenig's advocacy and this is accentuated by a warmly veiled piano sound. There are decent (English only) liner notes. Shortish playing time is offset by engaged performances and good repertoire choice.

Rob Barnett


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