Elena Urioste (violin)
Tom Poster (piano)
Magnus Johnston (violin 2: Moon River)
rec. 2017, SJE Arts, Oxford, UK BIS BIS2428SACD [69:40]
This is Elena Urioste’s second outing on BIS; Echoes, with pianist Michael Brown, is on BIS-2284 and contains sonatas by Strauss and Ravel as well as pieces by Amy Beach and Brown himself. Her latest disc is very different, being a sequence of sweetmeats culled, in the main, from the recital songbook and featuring familiar arrangements by Kreisler, Milstein, Heifetz, Auer, Dushkin, Kochanski – and a not-very-well-known one by Efrem Zimbalist.
It was a sensitive choice to start with the warm piety of Kreisler’s own Preghiera whilst Poster shows he is no subservient accompanist in the Dvořák Songs My Mother Taught Me. The Milstein Liszt arrangement is played with due refinement and she shows independence of esprit in not following Heifetz’s perfumed legerdemain in the title track. Kreisler’s Caprice viennois sounds rather devitalized and lacking in requisite charm and though she lacks Josef Hassid’s famous fervor in Achron’s Hebrew Melody, it’s as well to remember that everyone else lacks his fervor too and that there are other, less heated ways to approach the piece.
She plays the Debussy-Heifetz Beau soir with attractive attention to coloration though the Gluck Melodie seems to suggest a rather coolish temperament at work. Of the Elgar brace, Chanson de Nuit, with expressive buttressing of the line, fares better than a spick and span Salut d’amour. I’ve not often come across Carl Engel’s Sea-Shell, other than as a Zimbalist arrangement and via Michael Rabin, who did play it. Engel is best known as a publisher, but this gentle piece deserves more hearings. Grant Still’s Mother and Child is a valuable thing to hear, even if it is extracted from his Violin Suite. Attractive though it is, to me Grant Still always manages to go on just rather too long. I always admire fiddlers who take on Heifetz’s Gershwin arrangements as he set the bar impossibly high in his supercharged recording but Urioste – and Poster – acquit themselves well in My Man’s Gone Now.
The final three tracks feature Poster’s own arrangements. He employs a second violin in the shape of Magnus Johnston in Moon River which goes really well – even down to the rather Grappelli-Menuhin ending (I’d have preferred a Grappelli-Eddie South ending but appreciate that this might not be the right ethos). Victor Young’s When I fall in Love is deft and just a bit too polite – it needs a Toscha Seidel or a Louis Kaufman to bring this to fervid romantic life and unfortunately they’re not around to oblige. Over the Rainbow ends things sweetly; three slow songs in a row.
The SACD sound is first-class and the booklet notes by both artists attractive, not least in drawing attention to the great artists of the past whose performances and arrangements are saluted in this pleasing selection.
Contents Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962)
Preghiera in the style of Martini [3:35]
Caprice viennois, Op. 2 [4:21] Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Zigeunermelodien (7), Op. 55: no 4, Songs my Mother Taught Me (1880) arr. Fritz Kreisler [2:51] Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Consolations (6) for Piano, S 172: no 3 in D flat major, Lento placido (1849-50) arr. Nathan Milstein [4:14] Manuel PONCE (1882-1948)
Estrellita (1912) arr. Jascha Heifetz [2:59] Joseph ACHRON (1886-1943)
Hebrew Melody, Op. 33 (1911) arr. Leopold Auer [5:10] Maria Theresia von PARADIS (1759-1824)
Sicilienne arr. Samuel Dushkin [2:57] Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice: Dance of the Blessed Spirits (1762-64) arr. Fritz Kreisler [3:25] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Beau soir (1880) arr. Jascha Heifetz [2:22] Carl ENGEL (1883-1944)
Sea-Shell arr. Efrem Zimbalist [3:22] Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Chanson de nuit, Op. 15 No 1 (1897) [3:47]
Salut d'amour, Op. 12 (1888-89) [2:35] Richard HEUBERGER (1850-1914)
Der Opernball: Midnight Bells (1897) arr. Fritz Kreisler [3:27] William Grant STILL (1895-1978)
Violin Suite; Movement 2; Mother and Child (1943) [6:03] Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946)
Canciones populares espańolas (7): no 3, Asturiana (1914-15) arr. Paul Kochanski [2:23] George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Porgy and Bess (1935): My man's gone now, arr. Jascha Heifetz [3:48] Henry MANCINI (1924-1994)
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Moon River (1961) arr. Tom Poster [3:46] Victor YOUNG (1900-1956)
When I Fall in Love (1951) arr. Tom Poster [3:15] Harold ARLEN (1905-1986)
Wizard of Oz: Over the Rainbow (1939) arr. Tom Poster [2:58]
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