With the release of each new album, violinist Arabella Steinbacher proves again and again that she not only performs an impressively wide and diverse repertoire, but that she commands different facets of it with incredible precision. This installment features works for violin and piano by French composers Fauré, Poulenc, and Ravel, whose output traverses three generations of wonderfully contrasting music. Steinbacher opens with the rapturous Poulenc sonata, a piece which showcases the amazing amount of controlled power and agility of her right arm. Contrasting completely with its light, effete, graceful qualities is Fauré's A major sonata, in which Steinbacher completely changes character to match the more fluid, hazy aesthetic. The greatest stylistic contrast comes in the Ravel sonata. Here, Steinbacher's tone and pacing give listeners the impression that she grew up listening to nothing more than jazz and blues. The album ends with a bang -- Ravel's Tzigane -- which allows Steinbacher one last opportunity to prove she is not only a master of musicianship, but possesses a fiery, dazzling technique on top of it. Her collaboration with pianist Robert Kulek is nicely unified and pleasingly balanced, a true example of like-minded chamber music at its finest.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Sonata for violin & piano, FP 119|
|Sonata for violin & piano No. 1 in A major, Op. 13|
|Sonata for violin & piano No. 2 in G major|