With such an abundance of repertoire for the solo violin, it's a curiosity why violinists seem to focus on such a narrow swath of these pieces. On her MSR Classics album, Going Solo, Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio explores some of the lesser-known repertoire not only for solo violin, but solo viola as well. Her program ranges from the early Fantasia No. 7 of Telemann to the world-premiere recording of James Winn's 2008 Pibroch for solo violin. Sant'Ambrogio's is typically straightforward and no-nonsense. There are times when a little bit more emotional liberty might be desired. How about a bit more ferocity in the second movement of Porter's Suite for viola alone? Or a bit of sensuality in the Sarabande of Ysaÿe's Op. 27/4 Sonata for solo violin? Missed opportunities such as these result in a performance that's relatively successful from a purely technical standpoint, but a bit lackluster musically. MSR's recorded sound is exceptionally dry and close, making it difficult for Sant'Ambrogio to produce long, smoothly connected lines; it also picks up on every tiny little production noise. As a result of this recorded sound quality, Sant'Ambrogio's violin doesn't have as much of a developed, warm sound as might be hoped for. Her viola fares better, producing a richer, more resonant tone.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Fantasia No. 7 in E flat major for solo violin|
|Sonata for solo violin, Op. 27/4|
|Recitativo & Scherzo Caprice for solo violin, Op. 6|
|Sonata for solo violin|
|Suite for viola alone|
|Tango Etudes for solo violin|