Anne Akiko Meyers

Seasons... Dreams

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California violinist and former child prodigy Anne Akiko Meyers has stretched the violin recital in interesting ways, venturing into crossover territory (and even appearing at nightclubs) without losing the basic shape of the traditional program. Here's a decent sampling of her talents for those who follow the ways the classical violin is developing in the U.S., or just for those whose tastes run somewhere between Sarah Chang and Vanessa-Mae. The Seasons…Dreams concept of the album is not original, but the material with which Meyers fills it indeed is so. At the center of the program is the Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 3, Op. 24, "Spring," given a restrained performance inflected toward the evanescent, fantasy-like tone of the rest of the album. The other pieces push the seasons-and-dreams theme into unusual territory. Clair de lune is certainly a common enough item on such programs, but Wagner's Träume is less so, as is the shift from harp to piano accompaniment that follows with the Beethoven (the harp returns later). The pieces that follow the sonata are again just slightly left of center, with an unusual set of variations on a Japanese song, "Sakura," mixed in with Gershwin and Broadway tunes. Then comes an extremely odd nightmare turn to the dream mood: Alfred Schnittke's setting of Stille Nacht (Silent Night). With Debussy's Beau Soir and Après un Rêve of Fauré (whose accent mark apparently fell into the ocean on the way over from France), the listener is back on familiar ground. But the collective impression is fresh. The design from the eOne label (formerly Koch International) puts Meyers in an appealing light and makes one want to attend one of her recitals in person.

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