Isabelle Faust / Ewa Kupiec JANÁCEK Sonate pour violon et piano - LUTOSLAWSKI Partita - SZYMANOWSKI Mythes


Here's a really terrific recital, both enterprising and intelligent, that winds up being much more than the sum of its very considerable parts. Isabelle Faust and Ewa Kupiec play Janácek's quirky Violin Sonata with uninhibited passion, making no attempt to smooth over the music's rough edges but at the same time (as in the gorgeous second-movement Ballada) offering playing of bewitching beauty and fantasy. Kupiec in this respect proves herself a more than worthy partner to her gifted colleague. For example, her approach to La Fontaine d'Aréthuse, the first of Szymanowski's Mythes, points the music's rhythms with unusual care. No impressionistic fog here! The result, when combined with Faust's exquisitely poised tracery in her upper register, must be the most characterful interpretation of this music since the celebrated Danczowska/Zimerman version on DG, and it couldn't be more different--sharply focused and precise where the DG offers dreamy washes of sound.
The two Lutoslawski pieces--the brief, eruptive Subito and the Partita--find a natural home in this highly individual company of composers and performers. Partita is best known in its orchestral guise, but there's a very good case to be made for hearing it as originally written for violin and piano, particularly when played as here. Kupiec's notably keen attention to harmonic detail provides a much firmer launching pad than does the orchestral version for the violin's evocative, often microtonal explorations. Curiously, although you might think this harder edge makes the music more difficult listening, it's actually easier to hear both its neo-Baroque patterning and beautifully shaped melodic contours, particularly when phrased with the sensitivity Faust routinely displays (witness the poignant Largo central section). Perfectly balanced recorded sound completes as fine a chamber music recital as anyone could hope for. Stunning! (David Hurwitz)

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