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Hyperion Records

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The Broken Key (1938) by Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Sprengel Museum, Hannover / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67833
Recording details: April 2010
Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: February 2011
Total duration: 11 minutes 38 seconds

'Tanja Becker-Bender can muster both impressively full tone and a not inappropriate astringent edge. No mean virtuoso, her previous release for Hyperion was an acclaimed set of Paganini Caprices and it helps that the company provides a helpful booklet-note that does not over-egg the contextual pudding … worth a punt' (Gramophone)

'The young German violinist Tanja Becker-Bender offers absolutely stunning playing throughout this warmly recorded disc. She makes light work of the formidable technical challenges … her exemplary partnership with Markus Becker recaps equally enthralling musical rewards … the Suite is projected with great charm and elegance. Perhaps most impressive of all is their performance of the Second Sonata. Here Becker-Bender and Becker face competition from the highly rated recording by Gidon Kremer and Oleg Maisenberg on Warner. Yet this new version fizzes with an even greater degree of propulsion and exuberance … altogether this is an outstanding release that can be confidently recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There is some challenging music here for both players and it receives performances of the highest quality, as though this music were at the very centre of the standard repertoire instead of well beyond its fringes. Tanja Becker-Bender's tonal palette is wide, not shying away in the least from the occasional heathly dig into the strings; she seems totally at home with the material and certainly has an edge in power and musical range over the relatively lithe approach of her predecessor Ivan Zenatý for Supraphon' (International Record Review)

'The performances are first rate. Tanja Becker-Bender is the assertive, often spectacular violinist. Pianist Markus Becker does fine things with accompaniments that can sometimes seem ungrateful and predominantley supportive' (The Guardian)

'Tanja Becker-Bender has no problem negotiating her way through this stylistic plurality. She indulges to charming effect the playfulness of the early suite, where shades of Korngold intertwine with the sinuousness of early Schoenberg … it's a measure of her responsiveness to the varying demands of the music that she can alter her sound so well to what is required of her at any one point … Markus Becker is a supportive duo partner throughout and the recording of both players is well balanced' (The Strad)

Sonata for solo violin, WV83
January 1927; Paris & London

Allegro risoluto  [2'11]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The manuscript of the Sonata for solo violin WV83 is dated ‘Paris–London, January 1927’. It is one of a group of serious concert works from the period that also saw Schulhoff composing some of his most successful jazz-inspired pieces for piano: Cinq études de jazz (December 1926), Esquisses de jazz (October 1927) and Hot Music (April 1928). The Sonata for solo violin is quite different—written in four compact movements, it brilliantly exploits the possibilities of an unaccompanied violin: driving rhythms in the first movement, a lyrical and highly chromatic slow movement (the opening theme uses all twelve notes of the chromatic scale), a Scherzo that makes extensive use of open fifths, and a trenchant, rugged finale that is coloured with the Lydian mode (a major scale with the fourth note raised, in this case with a C sharp in G major)—a common trait of the folk music of Eastern Europe that was also used by Bartók and Janácek.

from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2011

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