Devil's Dance

( 3 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
For centuries, the violin has been portrayed as the devil's instrument, thanks to its fiendish difficulty and mysterious allure. Gil Shaham, who seems to enjoy performing lighter fare as much as big, serious concertos, has put together a clever program of miniatures that explores the violin's dark side. He sizzles through tried-and-true virtuoso warhorses such as Tartini's treacherous "Devil's Trill" Sonata, Saint-Saëns's sinuous "Danse macabre," and Bazzini's dizzying "Ronde des Lutins," but it's the out-of-the-ordinary selections that make this album so gratifying. Eugène Ysaÿe's Second Sonata gives a surprisingly sinister spin to a well-known work by Bach, ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Andrew Farach-Colton
For centuries, the violin has been portrayed as the devil's instrument, thanks to its fiendish difficulty and mysterious allure. Gil Shaham, who seems to enjoy performing lighter fare as much as big, serious concertos, has put together a clever program of miniatures that explores the violin's dark side. He sizzles through tried-and-true virtuoso warhorses such as Tartini's treacherous "Devil's Trill" Sonata, Saint-Saëns's sinuous "Danse macabre," and Bazzini's dizzying "Ronde des Lutins," but it's the out-of-the-ordinary selections that make this album so gratifying. Eugène Ysaÿe's Second Sonata gives a surprisingly sinister spin to a well-known work by Bach, for example, while the arrangements of songs and piano solos by Brahms "Walpurgisnacht", Grieg "Puck", and Mendelssohn "Hexenlied" offer Shaham an opportunity to show off his singing tone as well as his breathtaking dexterity. But best of all are the three contemporary pieces. William Bolcom's melancholy rag, "Graceful Ghost," is played with truly haunting bittersweetness in this adaptation for violin and piano. "Devil's Dance" -- written especially for this album by John Williams -- is a spiky, Prokofiev-esque showpiece based on themes from Williams's score to The Witches of Eastwick, for which the wryly sentimental "Transylvanian Lullaby" arranged from John Morris's score to Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein provides a perfect foil. Shaham and his pianist, Jonathan Feldman, are clearly having a helluva good time on all 13! tracks -- so good, they'll have you believing the devil does have all the good tunes.
All Music Guide - James Leonard
Some would suspect this disc to be an abomination in the eyes of God and man; it is actually a pleasant little disc of what used to be called encores. You remember encores: the technically virtuosic but musically lightweight works that a performer would play after the real recital was over. Now those days are gone. Nowadays what used to be encores -- the chocolate mousse and Napoleon brandy after a full musical meal -- are the meat and potatoes of the music industry. This disc is an entire dessert tray full of sweet confections. Some of them are extremely light, past the point of frivolity to inanity: John Williams' "Devil's Dance" from The Witches of Eastwick and John Morris' "A Transylvanian Lullaby" from Young Frankenstein. Some are musically more substantial but still pretty silly: Sarasate's "Concert Fantasy on Gound's Faust," Korngold's "Caprice Fantastique," and especially the piano-and-violin transcription of Saint-Saëns "Danse Macabre." Some are charming: Brahms' "Walpurgisnacht," Mendelssohn's "Hexenlied," and especially William Bolcom's gorgeous "Graceful Ghost Rag." Some are flat-out stunning: Tartini's "Devil's Trill Sonata." All are played with technical mastery, a great sense of fun, and no sense of slumming by virtuoso violinist Gil Shaham. Some aspects of the disc are goofy: the photograph on the back cover with Shaham and his accompanist holding flashlights under their faces reminds one of Cub Scout camp, and the liner notes are the purest pandering. But, despite all this, the disc is a lot of fun. Recommended for those who like their daredevil violin virtuosity on the light side.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2000
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • UPC: 028946348321
  • Catalog Number: 463483
  • Sales rank: 176,335

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Devil's Dance, for violin & piano (from Witches of Eastwick) - John Williams [composer] & Henri Cazalis (4:11)
  2. 2 A Transylvanian Rhapsody from Young Frankenstein, for violin & piano (arr. by Feldman): A Transylvanian Lullaby - John Morris & Jonathan Feldman (3:59)
  3. 3 Småtrold (Puck), lyric piece for piano, Op. 71/3 - Edvard Grieg & Jonathan Feldman (1:46)
  4. 4 Danse macabre, symphonic poem in G minor, Op. 40 - Camille Saint-Saëns & Jonathan Feldman (6:41)
  5. 5 Märchenbilder, for piano, No. 4, The Gnomes, Op. 3/4 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold & Jonathan Feldman (3:54)
  6. 6 Walpurgisnacht ("Lieb Mutter, heut Nacht..."), duet for 2 sopranos & piano, Op. 75/4 - Johannes Brahms & Jonathan Feldman (1:49)
  7. 7 Andres Maienlied ("Die Schwalbe fliegt"), song for voice & piano ("Hexenlied"), Op. 8/8 - Felix Mendelssohn & Jonathan Feldman (2:18)
  8. 8 La Ronde des Lutins, scherzo fantastique for violin & piano, Op 25 - Antonio Bazzini & Jonathan Feldman (5:16)
  9. 9 The Graceful Ghost, a concert variation for violin & piano - William Bolcom & Jonathan Feldman (8:31)
  10. 10 Concert Fantasy on themes from Gounod's "Faust," for violin & orchestra (or piano) - Pablo de Sarasate & Jonathan Feldman (11:23)
  11. 11 Caprice for solo violin in B flat major ("The Devil's Chuckle"), Op. 1/13, MS 25/13 - Niccolò Paganini & Jonathan Feldman (2:43)
  12. 12 Sonata for violin & continuo in G minor, B. g5 ("The Devil's Trill") - Giuseppe Tartini & Jonathan Feldman (14:16)
  13. 13 Sonata for violin solo No. 2 in A minor ("Obsession"), Op. 27/2: Obsession - Eugène Ysaÿe & Jonathan Feldman (2:17)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Gil Shaham Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A serious artist needs serious music

    While I always enjoy Mr Shan's playing, and while I am hardly a musical snob, I wish that Mr Shahan, when selecting "lighter fare", would choose composers other than Mr Williams and Mr Morris for his Cds. There is so much fine, distinguished film music out there composed by serious artists (Rozsa, Auric, Newman, Herrmann, Schurmann, Alwyn, et al) that it should be no trouble at all for Mr Shahan to investigate some of it for a future CD. Mr Morris' music was interesting (even if written for an infantile movie), but an artist of Mr Shanan's stature can hardly be doing his reputation any good by including music from such trashy films as "Witches of Eastwick" by composers as over-represented on CD as Mr Williams is. Let us hope that Mr Shahan will look back and tap into the truly great film music of the past on some future recording. He should know that there are certainly better composers he could select from.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Amazing

    A powerful CD that makes images whirl around your mind

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Why do the villains get all the great music?

    Our family loves this CD! All of violin's ''evil'' greatest hits are on here, played with great artistry by Gil Shahan & Feldman. The violin's great versatility in expressing human emotion really shows here with both scary, rhythmic and gently spooky pieces. We especially love Witches of Eastwick, Transylvanian Lullaby (Young Frankenstein), Danse Macabre, and Ghost Waltz (Bolcom).

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews