Renata Artman Knific / Lori Sims

William Bolcom: Works for Violin and Piano

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William Bolcom: Works for Violin and Piano Review

by Mike D. Brownell

For anyone unfamiliar with the violin sonatas of William Bolcom, or who has heard them but do not own this particular recording, stop what you're doing and buy it. Violinist Renata Artman Knific and pianist Lori Sims, both faculty members at Western Michigan University, offer an astonishingly commanding and engaging performance of the Second, Third, and Fourth sonatas. MSR's recorded sound on this CD is especially clear, allowing every note to be heard in even the densest, most aggressive passages. Intonation is all but flawless, and Knific's sound varies easily between the savage and the sweet. Her palate of tone colors is seemingly endless, which infuses each movement with a character all its own. Sims' piano playing is equally vibrating and varied. The cleanliness of her playing is remarkable considering the demands Bolcom makes of the pianist. Together, Knific and Sims perform as if they were a single instrument. They match each other's temperaments, articulations, phrasing, and character in a way usually associated with duos that have been playing together for decades. This CD is absolutely a necessary addition to virtually any collection and is recommended without reservation.

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