Patricia Kopatchinskaja / Peter Eötvös

Bartók, Eötvös, Ligeti

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For her fourth album on Naïve, violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja joins forces with composer/conductor Peter Eötvös, and her program of modern violin concertos is marvelously cohesive and direct. The three works by Béla Bartók, Eötvös, and György Ligeti reveal connections in style and substance drawn from a common heritage, built on the rhythms and colors of Hungarian folk music and communicated through innovative orchestration that incorporates extended techniques. Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 2 is the most conventional in layout, following the Classical three-movement, fast-slow-fast format, with the violin placed at the center of activity, in either a virtuosic or lyrical capacity. Kopatchinskaja plays with a passionate expression, though it is delivered in a rough folk-like style that at times approaches gypsy fiddling. Seven, Eötvös' tribute to the seven astronauts lost in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster, is a series of five cadenzas of different lengths that are elegiac and brooding in tone, despite the apparent technical complexity of the writing. In both works, Kopatchinskaja is backed by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, under Eötvös' direction, and their rapport is spontaneous and natural, which is essential to Kopatchinskaja's playing. Like the Eötvös work, Ligeti's Violin Concerto is in five movements, but here Kopatchinskaja is accompanied by Ensemble Modern, and the expansive orchestral sound of the previous works is replaced by individualized chamber orchestra sonorities, many of which are quite experimental and unexpected. This CD is a brilliant exploration of the violin's growing repertoire, and Kopatchinskaja has performed a service to modern music by playing these works with vitality and commitment.

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