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Track(s) taken from CDA67619

Élégie sur la mort d'un objet chéri, Op 10

Chant pour violon; published in Vienna in 1840, probably written a few years earlier

Ilya Gringolts (violin), Ashley Wass (piano)
Recording details: November 2006
Crear Studio, Argyll, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: March 2008
Total duration: 7 minutes 53 seconds

Cover artwork: Violin Player to the Moon by Hans Thoma (1839-1924)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Ilya Gringolts has the measure of both the virtuosity and the romantic sensibility—his performance of the fantasy is quite outstanding … he plays the lyrical passages with an intense commitment that's reminiscent of Heifetz. His imaginative grasp of the music's expressive character makes for a gripping account of the Élégie … and the unaccompanied items fare just as well … Gringolts' technical command, beautiful intonation and exciting, deep involvement with the music make for a great listening experience' (Gramophone)

'Blessings on Ilya Gringolts for having the cojones, as well as the fingers, to record Ernst's Six Polyphonic Studies for Solo Violin … the performances are among the greatest displays of virtuosity I have ever heard. Gringolts even supasses his teacher Itzhak Perlman in the magic fingers department' (American Record Guide)

'In the right hands, such as those belonging to Ilya Gringolts, it actually achieves a degree of musical viability … what profundity there is comes from the listener's shivering realization that the humanly impossible is being achieved right before his ears, and apparently without effort. Even the formidable Midori, in her Carnegie Hall recital, doesn't make us forget how absurdly difficult this work is, the way that Gringolts does … Gringolts's cantabile playing is as remarkable as his agility. Pianist Ashley Wass … is rock solid and always complementary' (International Record Review)

'His playing [Ernst] and his compositions astonished and delighted thousands. His transcription of Schubert's Erlkönig, played here with fiery vehemence by the young Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts, is a demonic tour de force worthy of Paganini himself' (The Sunday Times)

'Ilya Gringolts meets Ernst's formidable technical challenges with apparent ease, and his playing here is virtually flawless even in the most taxing flights of virtuosity … he also dispatches Ernst's transcription of Schubert's Erlkönig with breathtaking aplomb and close regard for the dark atmosphere and sinister detail of Goethe's poem. Pianist Ashley Wass provides sterling support in the accompanied works, especially in the soulful, recitative-like introduction of the Élégie, in which Gringolts is at his own lyrical and intimately expressive … violin virtuosity reigns supreme' (The Strad)

'No one has come close to equalling the technical prowess and musicality that Gringolts displays here' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Gringolts represents Ernst as a sensitive yet large-scale player, far removed from either empty display or stultifying classroom academicism. Nevertheless, he out-sparkles Ricci in the Second Study, which he takes at a tempo I would never have imagined possible … in the next Study, dedicated to Joachim, he slows down to reveal the full range of sentiment with which Ernst laced it … the Élégie … offers perhaps a purer strain of lyricism, and Gringolts, playing it with more panache than might be expected in such a work, makes its romantic rhetoric surprisingly convincing … Gringolts’s collection should be essential listening for violinists, offering a sort of authentic recreation that should interest much wider audiences as well; heartily recommended to them too' (Fanfare, USA)

'Violinists will marvel at the astonishing ability of Ilya Gringolts in getting his fingers around this music with pianist Ashley Wass' (Liverpool Daily Post)

'The playing must be heard to be believed … Ernst's music bristles with all imaginable—and some unimaginable—instrumental tricks … Gringolts performs all these hair-raising feats with apparent ease. His intonation never falters, his tone reamins pure … most admirably, he makes the acrobatics sound like music, with melodies that sing and soar, elegant phrasing, tonal variety, charm and expressiveness' (Strings, USA)
Despite his output of works of dazzling technical bravura Ernst was, in fact, most celebrated in his time for his slow and soulful pieces, of which the Elegy, Op 10, is a fine example. This haunting work was published in Vienna in 1840, having been written perhaps a few years earlier, with the title in full Élégie sur la mort d’un objet chéri. Described as Chant pour violon, it enjoyed great popularity in Ernst’s lifetime and was widely played. At least part of this success must have been due to the fact that, after the plangent, recitative-like introduction, in this piece Ernst makes few unreasonable demands on the player’s technique, aiming instead for unpretentious lyricism. Only in the final section does he call for double-stopping to intensify the emotion as the music builds to its climax, and the effect is entirely expressive.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008

Hormis ces pièces de soliste, Ernst composa surtout des œuvres originellement conçues avec accompagnement orchestral mais souvent jouées, comme ici, dans des versions avec piano, tout aussi efficaces. S’il rédigea des pages d’une éblouissante bravoure technique, il fut avant tout célèbre, en son temps, pour ses partitions lentes et émouvantes, telle l’Élégie, op. 10. Cette œuvre obsédante parut à Vienne en 1840—quelques années, peut-être, après son achèvement—sous le titre complet d’Élégie sur la mort d’un objet chéri. Qualifiée de Chant pour violon, elle suscita un immense engouement du vivant de son auteur et fut beaucoup jouée. Son succès dut venir, en partie du moins, de ce que, passé une introduction plaintive, de type récitatif, Ernst émet peu d’exigences techniques déraisonnables et cherche plutôt un lyrisme sans prétention. C’est seulement dans la section finale qu’il en appelle aux doubles cordes pour intensifier l’émotion au moment où la musique atteint à son apogée, dans un effet purement expressif.

extrait des notes rédigées par Calum MacDonald © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Abgesehen von diesen unbegleiteten Werken wurden die meisten Stücke von Ernst ursprünglich mit Orchesterbegleitung konzipiert, werden aber meist, wie auf dieser CD, in gleichermaßen wirkungsvollen Versionen mit Klavier aufgeführt. Trotz seines Œeuvres von Werken voll blendender technischer Bravour war Ernst zu seinen Lebzeiten besonders für seine langsamen und tiefsinnigen Stücke berühmt, wofür die Élégie op. 10 ein schönes Beispiel ist. Dieses ergreifende Werk wurde 1840 in Wien veröffentlicht, aber wahrscheinlich einige Jahre zuvor geschrieben; sein voller Titel war Élégie sur la mort d’un objet chéri. Dieser Chant pour violon erfreute sich zu Ernsts Lebzeiten großer Popularität und wurde viel gespielt. Diesen Erfolg dürfte es zumindest teilweise der Tatsache verdanken, dass Ernst nach der klagevollen, rezitativhaften Einleitung in diesem Stück kaum allzu hohe Ansprüche an die Technik des Spieler stellt, und stattdessen schlichte Lyrik anstrebt. Erst im letzten Abschnitt verlangt er er Doppelgriffe, ausschließlich mit expressiver Wirkung, um in der Steigerung zum Höhepunkt die Emotion der Musik zu vertiefen.

aus dem Begleittext von Calum MacDonald © 2008
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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