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"Saint Saëns" - par Duncan Druce

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- September 2010

Saint-Saëns. Chausson. Ysaÿe - Tedi Papavrami vn
Orch. Philh. de Liège Wallonie Bruxelles / François-Xavier Roth

Tedi Papavrami brings a light, magical touch to
Saint-Saens’ Violin Concerto

The 19th century saw some famous collaborations between

 

composer and violinist, and this programme neatly brings together two of them. Anyone familiar with the recordings Sarasate made at the start of the 1900s will recognise his style – elegant, mercurial and supremely fluent – in Saint-Saëns’s violin music, much of it written for him. Tedi Papavrami, whilst not attempting to sound like Sarasate, adopts something of his graceful manner; his alert, lively approach is just right for conveying the music’s inventive, often improvisatory character. He makes the Rondo into something truly capricious, with even the tender moments and the rhetorical gestures retaining a playful air. The Concerto, too, gets an extravert performance; each episode vividly characterised, yet without excessive intensity. Played like this, one can imagine it as a ballet score accompanying a fairyland scenario. François-Xavier Roth and the orchestra participate in this view; even the triumphant reappearance of the finale’s chorale melody sounds bright and airy, leading naturally to the violin’s final flourishes.

 

Ysaÿe and Chausson’s world is more sombre, but still evokes a magical, legendary atmosphere. It’s most interesting to hear the Chausson alongside the work that inspired it; Ysaÿe’s Poème isn’t as concentrated or as haunting as Chausson’s but more overtly dramatic, rising to a powerful, Wagnerian climax. Papavrami is able to find a different, darker range of tone colours for these two works, and again the orchestra responds sympathetically, whilst remaining Gallic in its emphasis on differentiated, rather than blended sounds. A most enjoyable CD, and strongly recommended.


 
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