Guido Rimonda

Petite École de la mélodie

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Petite École de la mélodie, a little known work for violin and piano by composer Jean Baptiste Charles Dancla, is the headlining piece on this Chandos album. While it is the world-premiere recording of the Petite École, and new works are always a welcome asset, Dancla's 12 etude-like shorts may not be worthy of great esteem. Yes, they are certainly all melodic as the title would suggest, but they offer little in the way of substance or backbone. After 12 tracks, the whole experience becomes one of relative banality. For his part, violinist Guido Rimonda offers a technically proficient reading of the work, but his interpretation tends to lean toward the syrupy sweet. The same could be said for his performance of the album's core piece: Saint-Saëns Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor. Despite the clear first movement character marking of Allegro agitato, Rimonda's playing is rather soft around the edges with insufficient rhythmic dynamism. By the treacherous Finale, a perpetual motion, Rimonda livens things up a bit, but by this time it's too little, too late. The album ends with a technically flawless but musically overwrought performance of Massenet's Meditation from his opera Thaïs.

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