Suites & Sweets

Suites & Sweets

by Jessica Mathaes


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Suites & Sweets

Suites & Sweets, the saccharinely titled album by violinist Jessica Mathaes and pianist Rodney Waters, offers listeners chestnuts like Stravinsky's "Suite Italienne" drawn from his opera "Pulcinella," and de Falla's feisty "Suite Populaire Espagnole" as well as other fine examples of the suite in the rarely (if ever) performed Henry Cowell "Suite" and Erich Korngold's "Suite" from his incidental music to Much Ado About Nothing. For listeners who have not had the pleasure to hear these latter two works, this album is worthwhile for them alone. Cowell's "Suite" in particular combines his keen and underappreciated knack for melody writing along with his well-known, unique harmonization techniques. Korngold's, also no stranger to writing lush, singing melodies, is perhaps more abstract when thought of as incidental music, but it displays very idiomatic writing for violin and piano. The two "sweets" on the album -- Ravel's "Pièce en forme de Habanera" and Massenet's "Meditation from Thaïs" -- should be considered for what they really are on the album: filler. Mathaes' playing is technically quite proficient, though the demanding finale of "Suite Italienne" appears to pose some difficulties. Musically, Mathaes gives listeners a solid though perhaps unremarkable interpretation of the four suites. Character changes little when moving from composer to composer; tone is sometimes lacking in depth and richness, particularly in the slower, more soulful movements.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/26/2009
Label: Centaur
UPC: 0044747299327
catalogNumber: 2993


  1. Suite for Violin and Piano (6), HC 397
  2. Suite Italienne, for violin & piano (after Pulcinella, transcribed with Samuel Dushkin)
  3. Much Ado About Nothing, suite from the incidental music for violin & piano, Op. 11
  4. Suite Populaire Espagnole, for violin & piano (arr. from "Popular Spanish Songs" by Kochanski)
  5. Pièce en forme de Habanera, arrangement(s) for solo instrument & keyboard
  6. Méditation, for violin & orchestra (or other arrangement) (from opera "Thäis")

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