Vilde Frang

Homage

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The "homage" being paid here is not to a single individual, but, Vilde Frang explains, to the early 20th century's great violinists collectively, represented by the pieces they played as short encores. There have been other collections of such works since control was wrested from modernist gatekeepers and it became permissible to enjoy them again, but Frang here offers an unusually good survey that catches the sheer fun of the music, differentiates the styles of the violinists involved, and resurrects some lost pieces. In the latter category comes La capricciosa of Franz Ries, nephew to Beethoven's student Ferdinand Ries, with a work that touches on Brahms as it threads its way among various displays. The Tango of "Poldowski," a pseudonym for Henryk Wieniawski's Polish-British daughter Régine (or Irène, or Irina), a female composer who has been ignored as others have been rediscovered, has the violin standing in for a guitar-headed tango group. Her father appears in the most spectacular work of the bunch, the mazurka called Obertass. Much of the album is devoted to transcriptions; in this group the icy technician Heifetz and the evanescently melodic Kreisler loom large, in elegant contrast, but lesser-known names like Léon Roques and Joseph Szigeti appear along the way in a beautifully constructed program. Accompanist José Gallardo gives Frang room and stays out of her way. Brava!

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