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Track(s) taken from CDA67619

Grand Caprice pour violon seul sur Le Roi des Aulnes de F Schubert, Op 26

1854; transcription of Erlkönig

Ilya Gringolts (violin)
Recording details: November 2006
Crear Studio, Argyll, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: March 2008
Total duration: 4 minutes 12 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)
The summit of Ernst’s art is probably found in his compositions for unaccompanied violin. His bravura treatment of Schubert’s famous Goethe song Erlkönig—a work that Berlioz had orchestrated and Liszt transcribed as a piano solo—is a case in point. Ernst goes much further than either Berlioz or Liszt in his feat of transformation. Published in 1854, his Grand Caprice pour violon seul sur ‘Le Roi des Aulnes’ de F. Schubert, Op 26, is a concise drama in itself. The piece gives the impression of a manic, feverish moto perpetuo as Schubert’s melody becomes the basis for a torrential display of rapid repeated-note playing. The toccata-like stream of triplets, expressive no doubt of the wuthering storm through which the father rides with his child, never ceases. Violin technique seems to be pushed to the limits of the possible in order to convey the dark, sinister atmosphere of Goethe’s disturbing poem, and at the same time the music crackles with nervous energy in a deeply disturbing way: never more so than when we hear the Erl-King speak in wheezily seductive harmonics, the triplets momentarily transformed into the dance-rhythm of his spectral daughters. Like Paganini or Berlioz, Ernst was nothing if not an out-and-out Romantic, an impression if anything reinforced by the brutally matter-of-fact ending.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2008

C’est probablement dans ses compositions pour violon solo qu’Ernst atteint au summum de son art. Le traitement de bravoure appliqué au fameux Erlkönig schubertien—un lied sur un texte de Goethe que Berlioz avait orchestré et dont Liszt avait fait une transcription pour piano solo—nous en offre un bel exemple. Ernst pousse la prouesse de la transformation bien plus loin que Berlioz ou que Liszt. Publié en 1854, son Grand Caprice pour violon seul sur «Le Roi des Aulnes» de F. Schubert, op. 26 est, en soi, un drame concis, qui donne l’impression d’un moto perpetuo fou, fébrile, la mélodie schubertienne étant prétexte à un torrentiel festival de jeu rapide en doubles notes répétées. Expression indubitable de la tempête mugissante que le père et le fils affrontent dans leur chevauchée, le flot de triolets, à la toccata, ne cesse jamais. La technique violonistique semble poussée aux limites du possible pour charrier l’atmosphère noire, sinistre de l’inquiétant poème goethéen; mais, dans le même temps, la musique pétille d’une énergie nerveuse, un pétillement profondément troublant qui ne transparaît jamais autant que lorsqu’on entend le Roi de Aulnes parler dans des harmoniques à la raucité séductrice, où les triolets deviennent momentanément le rythme de danse de ses filles spectrales. Comme Paganini ou Berlioz, Ernst n’était rien de moins qu’un romantique à tout crin, une impression que la conclusion, brutalement pleine de sang-froid, aurait même tendance à renforcer.

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

Ernsts Verwandlung von Schuberts berühmtem Goethelied Erlkönig—einem Werk, das Berlioz orchestriert und Liszt für Klavier solo transkribiert hatte—in ein Bravourstück ist ein gutes Beispiel dafür. Ernst geht in seiner kunstvollen Transformation wesentlich weiter als Berlioz oder Liszt. Seine 1854 veröffentlichte Grand Caprice pour violon seul sur „Le Roi des Aulnes“ de F. Schubert, op. 26, ist ein in sich geschlossenes, dichtes Drama. Das Stück erweckt den Eindruck eines manisch-fiebrigen Moto perpetuo, in dem Schuberts Melodie die Basis für stürmische, rapide Tonrepetitionen bildet. Der toccatenhafte Triolenstrom, der zweifellos den brausenden Sturm darstellt, durch den der Vater mit seinem Kind reitet, lässt nie ab. Die Violintechnik wird bis an ihre äußersten Grenzen gedehnt, um die düstere, gespenstische Atmosphäre von Goethes beunruhigendem Gedicht zu vermitteln, und die Musik knistert gleichzeitig von tief beunruhigender nervöser Energie—besonders wenn wir den Erlkönig in näselnd-verführerischem Flageolet reden hören und die Triolen sich vorübergehend in den Tanzrythmus seiner gespenstischen Töchter verwandeln. Wie Paganini oder Berlioz war Ernst ein Romantiker durch und durch—ein Eindruck, der durch den brutal nüchternen Schluss nur noch verstärkt wird.

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

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