Sarasate: Spanish Dances, Etc / Yang, Hadulla

Regular price $19.99
Added to Cart! View cart or continue shopping.
If you want to hear some very well-played Sarasate violin music, performed on a disc devoted solely to that composer's Spanish Dances, then this new...
If you want to hear some very well-played Sarasate violin music, performed on a disc devoted solely to that composer's Spanish Dances, then this new release from Chinese violinist Tianwa Yang and Naxos will do the job splendidly. Yang was in her 17th year in 2004 when she recorded these stylish, dazzling showpieces--chamber works that also contain an inherent sensual, sultry physicality that requires a soloist with a keen sense of the rhythms and a true feeling for the passion--sometimes playful, sometimes athletic, sometimes erotic--embodied in these dances. Virtuoso they certainly are--and Yang delivers in this aspect of her performances; that is, her technique, which helped her win the prize of "Best Young Violinist in China" in 2004, is sharply developed, confident, and articulate.

Highlights include the energetic, triple-time Jota Aragonesa Op. 27, with its insistent down-beat, varied melodic twists and turns (including a section in harmonics), and sudden fiery outburst at the end. "Zapateado" (Spanish Dance Op. 23 No. 2) also is very exciting in terms of Yang's command of various bowing and fingering techniques--but this also is one place where she shows her occasional tendency to play under pitch, especially (and most unfortunately) on many of the harmonics (here and elsewhere). Because the pitch of unstopped harmonics (which many of these are) is determined by the tuning of the open string and cannot be altered simply by a fine finger adjustment, it suggests that Yang's violin was not always precisely in tune with the piano. At other times (in several places in the Op. 23 No. 1 ("Playera") an occasional note lies a bit flat at the end of a phrase, seemingly due to momentary inattentiveness, not to any fundamental failure of technique.

Aside from these spotty lapses, when you compare Yang's interpretations, which are basically solid and technically very impressive, with other versions, you realize the limitations of her emotional, experiential input to the pieces' expressive aspects. There's plenty of fire but not much heat; and there's undeniable vitality but the seductive, romantic spirit is missing.

For the most accomplished modern performances of many of the works on Yang's program, turn to James Ehnes' CBC recording, released the same year Yang's was made, which also includes works by Wieniawski. Ehnes seems to have thought more carefully about (or at least sensed) proper tempos relative to the particular nature of a given dance--his slower Playera, for instance, and considerably faster Jota Navarra and Zapateado, in each case ideally capturing the innate spirit of the dance in question. Ehnes also supplies the romantic depth and understanding these pieces need--a knowing turn of phrase, a clever shift of dynamics, a particular rhythmic emphasis here, a pulling away there. It's great stuff, and the Wieniawski selections are just as good.

The sound on the two discs also offers different choices--more edgy and gritty for Yang, making no compromise in presenting the instrument's natural character, and warmer, brighter, a bit more distant for Ehnes, yet no less realistic. Another consideration: Yang's program offers several works difficult or impossible to find elsewhere on disc.
--David Vernier,

Product Description:

  • Release Date: August 29, 2006

  • UPC: 747313276721

  • Catalog Number: 8557767

  • Label: Naxos

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Composer: Pablo de Sarasate

  • Performer: Markus Hadulla, Tianwa Yang