L' Aurore

Carolin Widmann

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L' Aurore Review

by James Manheim

The solo violin recital is something of a black belt for violinists, as the fact of the violin playing alone tends to overwhelm in pieces that were not necessarily intended to be played together. Violinist Carolin Widmann does well here, and it's all the more impressive that there are few extended techniques of any kind, just a bit of pizzicato in one of the Three Miniatures for solo violin of George Benjamin. One thing that has attracted buyers to this commercially successful release is the presence of unusual pieces, not only the Benjamin but also the Fantaisie concertante of George Enescu. That work is rarely heard, and it makes an ideal partner to the more familiar Sonata No. 5 in G major for solo violin, Op. 27, of Eugène Ysaÿe, one of whose movements lends the album its "L'Aurore" title. Widmann also plays a chant melody by Hildegard of Bingen, not once but twice; this was because, she says, she tended to play it differently each time. One wonders whether anything is added to Hildegard's music this way, especially on a program where nothing else is ahistorical. But it does break up the program as a whole, and it's the kind of odd thing the great virtuosi of the past might have done. Widmann passes the difficult test here with flying colors.

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