Sweden's BIS label has done excellent work in reviving the virtuoso music that lots of listeners would have known 100 years ago but that was stamped out by self-serving modernism. This release by Ukrainian-born Israeli violinist Vadim Gluzman and his wife, pianist Angela Yoffe, contains a few of the hits but also unearths some more unusual items. The music comes from various periods, and the program avoids the tedium that can come from hearing all encores. Several pieces were arranged by violinists themselves, and these give a flavor of the old performance economy in which players were higher up in the hierarchy. Nikolay Medtner's Fairy Tale for piano. Op. 20/1, was arranged by Jascha Heifetz, whose cool, awesomely precise style Gluzman's own somewhat resembles. Ernesto Halffter's Habanera, apparently for orchestra originally (it comes from a film score), appears in a version by Polish-Mexican violinist Henryk Szeryng, and the unexpected adaptation of themes from Fiddler on the Roof is by the violinist's own father, Michael Gluzman. Kreisler's La Gitana, Ernest Bloch's Nigun, and Ravel's Tzigane are repertory pieces, but the Szeryng arrangement and the Prelude No. 1, Op. 14, of Samuel Gardner, are world premieres, and other works like Franz Ries' La Capricciosa or Zino Francescatti's Polka are hardly better known but plenty challenging. The engineering is up to the usual high BIS standards, and this recording is both a great deal of fun and a worthwhile investigation. Notes are in English, German, and French.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
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