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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: 11 minutes 59 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)

Húsz könnyü kis darab 'Twenty easy little pieces'
subtitled Hungarian Nursery Rhymes and Folk Dances; arranged and re-ordered from Weiner's Op 27 of the same title

Allegro  [0'27]
Allegretto  [0'44]
Allegro  [0'23]
Allegro vivo  [0'14]
Tempo giusto  [0'24]
Tempo giusto  [0'36]
Moderato  [0'38]
Allegretto  [0'26]
Allegretto  [0'20]
Sostenuto  [0'59]
Tempo giusto  [0'32]
Andante  [1'08]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Weiner took the task of providing educational music for young players very seriously, and the Húsz könnyü kis darab (‘Twenty easy little pieces’, subtitled ‘Hungarian nursery rhymes and folk songs’) is heard here in a transcription for violin and piano by Tibor Fülep (who re-ordered Weiner’s original Op 27 publication and dropped the composer’s descriptive titles for each miniature). As a cycle it ranks with Bartók’s Hungarian folksongs and For children. In these tiny pieces—some of them only a few seconds long—Weiner precisely and often wittily fixes the character of the various songs with a minimum of fuss and not a single wasted note. Nevertheless, he is able—as in the very slightly longer Andante, No 18—to give them full expressive weight.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2009

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