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Hyperion Records

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The Solitary Cedar (1907) by Tivador Csontvary Kosztka (1853-1919)
Csontvary Museum, Pecs, Hungary / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67735
Recording details: June 2008
Jerusalem Music Centre, Israel
Produced by Eric Wen
Engineered by Zvi Hirshler
Release date: July 2009
Total duration: 6 minutes 9 seconds

'Shaham's pungent, occasionally acidic string tone is perfect for Weiner's mixture of extravagance and cool … great elegance and flamboyant ease' (The Guardian)

'Highly enjoyable … full of charm and wit … the playing is exemplary … Shaham and Erez make the best possible case for these pieces, duly wearing hearts on sleeve where appropriate' (International Record Review)

'Hagai Shaham plays with a large, richly Romantic tone and a feeling for the grand gestures in which the music delivers its message and the ethnic matrix from which it emerged. But he also has the virtuosic flair to put across the most flamboyant numbers' (Fanfare, USA)

'The excellent Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham and his accompanist of many years Arnon Erez (together they won the 1990 ARD Competition) have recorded Leo Weiner’s two magnificent early violin sonatas … with such devotion and such a feeling for the sensual glow of this music that, from the very first bar, one is totally transfixed by the art of their musical seduction … Hagai Shaham links a perfect technique with the mesmerizing beauty of his fiery sound; he embodies the ideal Hungarian gipsy-violinist, the highly cultivated Prince Charming who will give it 'his all' to cast a spell on his listeners … nowadays, violinists with such charisma have become very rare and should therefore be especially cherished … the old-fashioned magic of Shaham’s sound' (Stereoplay, Germany)

Peregi verbunk 'Pereg recruiting dance', Op 40
composer

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Csárdás Peregi verbunk (‘Pereg recruiting dance’) Op 40 is a perfect example of the verbunkos style, setting a received tune in a manner that descends straight from Brahms’s Hungarian dances (especially as they are presented in the violin-piano transcriptions by Joseph Joachim, recorded by Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez on Hyperion CDA67663). The languorous, even smoochy main tune betrays an urban, café-style sophistication. It is perfectly suited to the violin (though Weiner also made versions for clarinet and for viola), and the florid decoration of its later returns summons up the mental picture of a gypsy fiddler giving his all to entertain his audience.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2009

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