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CD Review

Ernest Bloch

Violin Sonatas

  • Violin Sonata #1
  • Violin Sonata #2, 'Poeme mystique'
  • Melodie
  • Nuit exotique
  • Abodah
Hagai Shaham, violin
Arnon Erez, piano
Hyperion CDA67439 69m DDD
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We have been having something of a Bloch revival of late with the legendary recordings of the string quartets by the Griller Quartet and other important reissues such as Geoffrey Simon's 'Scared Service' on Chandos. This pairing of the two violin sonatas is also extremely important for the composer's discography and also includes a number of short rare pieces that add to the enticement of the disc as a whole.

The First Sonata is in three broad movements with the first one marked Agitato. Here Shaham and Erez play with wonderful empathy and understanding, undoubtedly this is music that they feel with a deep passion. The aching Molto quieto is also very beautiful whilst the concluding Moderato really kicks off a whirlwind of activity that has Shaham on true top form.

The Second Sonata is subtitled 'Poeme mystique' and dates from 1924, or four years after the First. It is in four interconnected movements and is some ten minutes shorter with Bloch now thinking in more compact forms. Shaham and Erez are again very much attuned to the proceedings and turn out what can be termed as a well-nigh definitive performance.

The three pieces that act as fillers are also very much in the Bloch manner with pensive and at times, long drawn out melodies. Both soloists play them with charm and intensity and this whole disc is a definite must for lovers of solo violin especially those with a penchant for Bloch's unique music.

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech