- Vito y habanera, for violin & piano, Op. 26 (Danzas Españolas Nos. 7 & 8)
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On this 2013 Decca release, critically acclaimed violinist Julia Fischer and pianist Milana Chernyavska present a delightful recital of showpieces by Spanish virtuoso, Pablo de Sarasate. The music's fireworks give the program a strong appeal, and Fischer's technical brilliance is well-matched to all of Sarasate's demands, though her expressive intensity and soulful lyricism consistently carry the album. She pulls off all manner of flashy effects, including glissando harmonics, flageolets, pizzicati on the fingerboard, extended passages of sixths and octaves, flying spiccato bowing, and everything else in the violinist's bag of tricks, and there is never a missed opportunity for showmanship. Yet Fischer is most convincing when she has long, songlike melodies to spin out, and her control of line is always impressive, even when the melody is widely dispersed across the strings. Since the piano part is comparatively simple, often consisting of chords in a steady rhythm, Charnyavska has nothing particularly showy to play, but her support for Fischer's performance is constant and steady, and her sympathetic accompaniment is well-timed and subtle. Decca's reproduction is focused and clear, and the most dazzling passagework sparkles in the resonant recording space. Highly recommended.