Elena Urioste / Tom Poster

Estrellita

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AllMusic Review by

The graphics for this BIS release by American violinist Elena Urioste and British pianist Tom Poster strongly suggest that their partnership is personal as well as musical. And indeed the pair, who met as BBC Young Artists, have a rapport in these romantic (as well as Romantic) little pieces, many of them arranged years ago as encores or intermezzi by the likes of Jascha Heifetz, Leopold Auer, or Nathan Milstein. The players bring a level of focus that keeps the program going through fairly homogeneous material: the tempo doesn't vary from moderate, and the mood is lush. The program leads off with a composition by Fritz Kreisler and an arrangement by him of one of Dvorák's Songs My Mother Taught Me, and Urioste is a Kreisler kind of violinist: not brilliant, but with an appealing rich tone in her middle register that grabs your attention and holds it. The pair mostly offer pieces that would have been part of the violinist's practice book a century ago but were pushed out by modernism. They also play a few comparative rarities that are quite lovely; these include William Grant Still's "Mother and Child", and Maria Theresia von Paradis' Sicilienne, the latter arranged by Samuel Dushkin. Sample that for an idea of Urioste's style and also for the sound, a rare misstep by BIS engineers: in an attempt to heighten the intimate atmosphere, one imagines, they move in too close and pick up extraneous instrument noise. These pieces were meant for big auditoriums. A positive feature is the extension of the repertory into American popular music by Gershwin, Arlen, Victor Young, and Henry Mancini, all in arrangements by Poster; there is no reason to believe that Heifetz and the others would have objected to this. Likely destined to become a popular Valentine's gift for several seasons.

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