Philippe Quint / Dmitri Cogan

Paganini: Arrangements for Violin & Piano

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Fritz Kreisler's arrangements of music by Niccolò Paganini do not have the consistent conceptual basis of some of his other music. Instead, they replace Paganini's virtuoso effects with others that, one assumes, played to Kreisler's strengths. Generally speaking, they rely less on pure fire and more on exotic effects. There are three large variation sets included, and all three include remarkable passages in harmonics that replace parallel sections in the originals. Kreisler seems less fond of octaves than Paganini, and more fond of lengthy triple-stopped (and even quadruple-stopped -- hear the conclusion of Le streghe, Op. 8, [track 6]) passages. Most of the available Kreisler recordings seem to focus on the same set of sentimental favorites, and this disc helps flesh out the legacy of this fascinating figure. It might be objected that Russian-American violinist Philippe Quint doesn't sound much like Kreisler; he tones down Kreisler's characteristic mid-tone warble. But these are lively performances in which Quint does well to sacrifice perfect tonal precision for expressivity, and he is supported by expressive playing from accompanist Dmitri Cogan. Fine acoustics from the CBC's Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto are a plus. Recommended for Kreisler fans.

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