Georgy Valtchev

Bartók: Sonatas and Rhapsodies for Violin and Piano

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Bartók: Sonatas and Rhapsodies for Violin and Piano Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Bartók's four compositions for violin and piano (two sonatas and two rhapsodies) were confined to a narrow window of time, spanning just seven years of the composer's total output, ending by 1928. Although Bartók was not to return to the medium before his death in 1945, the four works he did complete have become a permanent fixture in the repertoire, fully demonstrating the composer's mastery of piano writing and his command and extensive use of folk melodies. This album features the Bulgarian duo of violinist Georgy Valtchev and pianist Lora Tchekoratova. The two have a superb command of the musical aspects of these pieces. Valtchev's playing in particular is filled with Hungarian-sounding brazenness, and an entirely convincing folk character. There's never a sign of shying away from his instrument, and he produces many satisfying string buzzes and gruff attacks with his bow, all perfectly welcome in music of this nature. What's not welcome, however, is sloppy intonation, and regrettably there's quite a bit of that to go around. Although this problem permeates the entire recording, it's most noticeable in the many, extended chordal passages and in particular when Valtchev is playing octaves. Sound quality in general is good, although the volume level is somewhat low.

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