Performer: Viktoria Mullova, Bruno Canino
Composer: Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, Sergei Prokofiev
Number of Discs: 1
Size: 239 MB
Stravinsky – Divertimento (arr. Stravinsky & Dushkin)
02. Danses suisses
04. Pas de deux (Adagio-Variation-Coda)
Ravel – Sonata for Violin & Piano
06. Blues (Moderato)
07. Perpetuum mobile (Allegro)
Prokofiev – Sonata D-dur, Op. 94 for Violin & Piano
09. Scherzo (Presto)
11. Allegro con brio
Great Prokofiev Violin Sonata No.2 !
Let me start off by saying this is a very special CD. Unfortunately, it is also out of print. But, every once in a while a used copy pops up. I really enjoy the three works presented here.
The first is Stravinsky’s Divertimento, transcription for violin & piano by Stravinsky & Samuel Dushkin (after Tchaikovsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss). This is a really nice piece. Viktoria Mullova and Bruno Canino do a nice job with it.
The second piece is Maurice Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Piano. Once again this is a very nice performance of the Sonata. I probably enjoy the Grumiaux and Kyung Wha Chung versions a little more, but this is still a nice version to have.
The third piece, and the crowning jewel of this CD is Serge Prokofiev’s Sonata in D Major, Op.94a for Violin and Piano (Also known as Violin Sonata No.2). It was originally written for flute and piano. David Oistrakh (who was the dedicatee of Prokofiev’s first Violin Sonata) liked it so much, he asked Prokofiev to transcribe it for violin, which he did. And, we are all better off because of it. This is one of my favorite violin sonatas, and I have many versions of it. I have Oistrakh, Mintz, and Perlman playing this piece as well. Of course I enjoy the Oistrakh version, but I love this Mullova version a little more. Her playing is nothing short of spectacular. The playing is very tight, and articulated. It has a very athletic quality about it. Yet, her phrasing is very expressive, without scratching the bow as in the Mintz version. Mullova and Canino have a great chemistry between them, and it really shows on this Sonata. I think this is a much more successful collaboration than the recording of the first Prokofiev Violin Sonata Mullova recorded with Piotr Anderszewski.
Also, I have to commend the engineers at Philips (Fiona Gale and Hein Dekker) for the great job they did in recording and balancing these performances. The mikes are perfect. The piano has a rich full sound, as well as the violin. They are balanced equally with each other, and the sound is very warm. One of the best recordings of a violin and piano on disc. It should be used as a reference for recording engineers. Mintz’ recording on DG (great performances that are also unfortunately out of print) suffers a little bit with having the piano miked too closely, with his violin sounding a little thin in comparison, allowing the piano to drown him out during the forte passages.
This CD is a must for any Viktoria Mullova fan. Anyone who enjoys the Prokofiev Violin Sonata No.2, should also look into finding a copy of this CD. Hopefully, Universal will find a way to reissue this performance.