Composer John Corigliano returns again to his very familiar film score The Red Violin for another work based on that score. This time, Corigliano has composed a set of caprices (Theme and Variations) that are immediately reminiscent of Paganini, not just because they are referred to as caprices, but also because of the specific pyrotechnic caprices that Corigliano employs. Also on this album is Corigliano's Sonata for Violin and Piano; although this is one of Corigliano's first "acknowledged" works (composed in 1963), it already shows an immense amount of maturity, skill, and sophistication. Three works of Virgil Thomson, all composed before Corigliano would have even completed elementary school, round out the album. Each of Thomson's works -- indeed, each individual track -- is written about a specific person. Regrettably, the liner notes do not go into any detail about these individuals, an addition that certainly would have enhanced understanding and enjoyment. This, however, is the only downside to this album. Violinist Philippe Quint and pianist William Wolfram deliver stunning performances track after track. Quint's "take-no-prisoners" approach to the violin is refreshing and energizing. The Red Violin Caprices, which are filled with astoundingly difficult demands, are tossed off with incredible accuracy and ferocity. Quint is equally capable of warmth and suppleness, making him a delightfully well-rounded performer. Although Wolfram's role on this particular album is somewhat minimal, his accompaniments are considerate and well balanced, yielding satisfying chamber music performances throughout.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|The Red Violin Caprices, for violin (for the film "The Red Violin")|
|Sonata for violin & piano|
|Three Portraits, for violin & piano (transcribed by Samuel Dushkin)|
|Five Ladies, portraits (5) for violin & piano|
|Portraits for Violin Alone|