Dvorák: Music For Violin And Piano Vol 1 / Zhou, Battersby

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There's certainly a niche for a budget series devoted to Dvorák's oeuvre for violin and piano. The violinist here, Qian Zhou, at first might not seem a familiar name, but many will remember her participation in the TV documentary featuring the late Isaac Stern's visit to China, "From Mao to Mozart", which has been broadcast by networks throughout the world. The American pianist Edmund Battersby accompanies Zhou with praiseworthy skill and sensitivity. Their program begins with a honeyed and alluring account of the lovely F minor Romance. It's good for a change to hear it played with keyboard accompaniment rather than in the orchestral edition as a makeweight filler on discs with the A minor concerto.

The Sonata in F has been surprisingly neglected on CD, making this impressive reading doubly welcome. But the two Supraphon recordings by Josef Suk are in a class apart in many ways, for Suk has one of the most personal, distinctive, and instantly recognizable tones around, and he plays this music with forceful insight and complete lack of self-aggrandizing rhetoric. Zhou and Battersby play with tremendous fire and energy (try them in the sizzling finale of Op. 57 for example), and also get plenty of punch and drama where it's needed, as in the big development section of the first movement of the F major sonata. But I wonder if anyone ever played the Four Romantic Pieces more bewitchingly than Itzhak Perlman and Samuel Sanders on their EMI recording, which also includes the Sonatina in G Op. 100. In both works, Perlman's masterful technique and matchless skill in vocalizing and inflecting his sound lends something special to his performances. Zhou hasn't the same skills--at least not yet--but plays with fine technical command and considerable feel for the music. Hopefully, these artists can retain such a consistently high level of musicianship in the next volume of this continuing cycle.
--Michael Jameson, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Release Date: October 01, 2001

  • Catalog Number: 8554413

  • UPC: 636943441329

  • Label: Naxos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Antonín Dvořák

  • Performer: Edmund Battersby, Qian Zhou