Jack Liebeck / Katya Apekisheva

Kreisler: Violin Music

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A master of late Romantic light music, Fritz Kreisler is best remembered today for his popular Liebesfreud, a favorite encore that is imbued with the charm and schmaltz of old Vienna. But he was a prolific composer of many short pieces under his own name, as well as pastiches "in the style of..." that he pretended were lost manuscripts by Baroque and Classical composers, to avoid having his name appear too many times on a program. He also arranged pieces by acknowledged composers, such as Gluck, Tartini, Falla, and Dvoràk, to demonstrate his virtuosity and innovative style of playing. This Hyperion release by violinist Jack Liebeck and pianist Katya Apekisheva presents Kreisler's many sides, and captures much of his spirit and wit while maintaining a certain original expression. This is a difficult task in light of the many Kreisler recordings that exist, tempting lesser players to imitate them. But Liebeck's sound is leaner than Kreisler's and his expression is lighter, giving the impression that he knows the style quite well but isn't daunted or haunted by it when he plays the same music. Collectors will likely have all of these pieces on reissues, so they may not need a "cover" CD that is full of familiar hits. But Liebeck's album deserves a fair hearing for its genuine feeling and polished performances, and newcomers may find it a charming introduction to this highly entertaining music.

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