Leonid Kogan

The Italian and Spanish Music

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While he did not receive the same level of international attention as contemporaries such as David Oistrach, Leonid Kogan was every bit the dynamic performer. His discography was vast, encompassing literature from the Baroque straight through to the Second Viennese School and everything in between; a substantial amount of his recorded legacy is still awaiting release on CD. This Melodiya disc puts together a somewhat unusual but very satisfying program of lesser-known Italian and Spanish works for violin and piano. Recordings were originally made anywhere from 1951 to 1971, although the liner notes do not specify which piece was recorded when. Given this wide range of dates, though, the sound quality is remarkably consistent throughout. Kogan was known to be a rather stoic performer, but one would never guess this by listening to his music. Filled with warmth, passion, subtle nuance, and playfulness, Kogan does a brilliant job capturing the idiomatic Spanish flair of de Falla's Suite Populaire Espagnole and the sassy pyrotechnics in the two Paganini sonatas for violin and guitar. Kogan's vibrato is tight, adding a sense of urgency and excitement to his playing. Intonation is virtually flawless, an exceptionally remarkable feat given the stratospheric registers visited by Paganini. Appropriate not only for historic recording collectors, this album of exceptional violin playing is sure to delight.

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