Lydia Mordkovitch / Ian Fountain

Lydia Mordkovitch Plays Bacewicz & Enescu

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This is an excellent bit of programming that wouldn't occur to just anybody; George Enescu's Violin Sonata No. 2/6 of 1899 paired with three mid-twentieth century works by Polish virtuoso Grazyna Bacewicz. Although differing in background, nationality, and timeframe, Enescu and Bacewicz share an interest in the French approach, the young Enescu in the post-romantic style of Franck, colored to some extent with Brahms' slippery chromaticism, and Bacewicz with the neo-classicists of Les Six, though tempered with a more muscular, Bartókian edge. None of these works is unique on recordings, and both Enescu's sonata and Bacewicz' partita are relatively well-known pieces recorded a number of times. What is unique about them is Lydia Mordkovitch interpretation of them, which is electrically dynamic in fast movements and searingly emotional in the slower ones. Admittedly the fast stuff is what takes the cake; Mordkovitch intense, driving reading of the Scherzo Vivo from Bacewicz's Violin Sonata No. 3 is on fire, yet maintains an attractive, folksy quality. Accompanist Ian Fountain plays like his name, with generous sprays of arpeggios in the first movement of the Enescu delivered with a liquid sense of grace and balance; however, at times he does seem to cover the soloist, and it is not clear whether this is the result of a hot-dogging accompanist or his recording level being too hot. In any event, Chandos' Lydia Mordkovich Plays Enescu & Bacewicz is a bracing recital, and whether it is the violinist or the program that attracts one's attention, such interest will be well rewarded.

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