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Posted October 1, 2010
This CD features absolutely flawless performances of four works for violin and piano--two by Stravinsky and two by Ravel--by one of the very best violinists currently on the classical music scene today--Jennifer Frautschi. Frautschi knows how to immerse herself in the music that she is performing in such a way that it sounds like the music could not have been played otherwise. Her tone is warm and golden and always very expressive, yet consistently sweet and pleasant. Try finding that combination in the playing of any other contemporary violinist--you'll be searching for a long time. No wonder that Robert Craft, renowned conductor and pupil of Stravinsky, has called Frautschi "one of the three or four finest violinists on the present musical scene" (from Naxos website). That's pretty high praise indeed, and totally merited.
You simply will not hear a more compelling account of Ravel's Tzigane anywhere else--with the exoticism and color balanced by perfect intonation and control. Stravinsky's Fairy Kiss Divertimento, also available in an orchestral version, sounds even better here in Frautschi's hands, played with as much conviction as one can imagine. The Ravel "Blues" Sonata for violin and piano has never sounded as jazzy as here--it reminds one of Gershwin, had he written for the violin. The Duo Concertanti of Stravinsky receives its best-ever performance here as well. Marta Aznavoorian is a very gifted pianist who accompanies beautifully, without ever trying to steal the show from the real star here: Frautschi. The recorded sound is very natural and well-balanced.
If you have any appreciation for excellent violin playing, you will grab this CD in an instant. It's worth every penny.