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Track(s) taken from CDA67571

Suite for solo violin No 1

1958; commissioned by and dedicated to Yehudi Menuhin; first performed by Alberto Lysy, Wigmore Hall 2 January 1959

Hagai Shaham (violin)
Recording details: May 2006
Jerusalem Music Centre, Israel
Produced by Eric Wen
Engineered by Phil McClelland
Release date: February 2007
Total duration: 11 minutes 5 seconds


'Both composers are served extremely well on this beautifully recorded disc, Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez in particular giving a totally convincing performance of Bloch's well-known Baal Shem … The overall impact is all the more powerful for the sure sense of pacing both artists demonstrate through the recital' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Such a fine soloist as Hagai Shaham … The Baal Shem Suite … receives an excellent performance. Shaham projects the ectsasy of the climaxes marvellously, underpinned by evocative fanfares from Arnon Erez's piano … This remains a fine release of worthwhile and relatively neglected repertoire' (International Record Review)

'Shaham's fiddle weeps with an expressive rich, dark tone, especially in the Nigun movement…' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hagai Shaham possesses the ideal kind of silver-toned, narrow-vibratoed purity to make these occasionally melodramatic pieces ring true. Rather than fall back on a well-upholstered, opulent sound, he streamlines his tone, adding a special kind of intensity to Bloch's soaring climaxes. Shaham strikes just the right balance between interpretative cool and swashbuckling bravado in Baal Shem … the recording is excellent throughout' (The Strad)

'The vibrancy of Hagai Shaham’s tone and his willingness to engage in expressive devices, apparent from the first notes of Ernest Bloch’s Baal Shem, promises visceral performances of commanding penetration. That the tone, however refined, also possesses a sprinkling of grit hardly detracts from the strong-mindedness of his readings … Hagai Shaham sounds as much at home in this kind of ethnic material as in the hushed sections of the second movement or in the bold, virtuosic gestures of the third. By contrast with the Solo Sonata, Ben-Haïm’s two pieces for violin and piano present contrasting faces of romanticism, the Berceuse sfaradite, a rich melodious outpouring, and the Improvisation and Dance, a flamboyant showpiece. Those drawn in any way to these composers should find Shaham’s advocacy convincing. Strongly recommended, however, to all kinds of listeners' (Fanfare, USA)

'Shaham reveals a penetrating intensity, exalted and colorful at once' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'These [performances] are truly inspiring. Shaham is unafraid of liquid, quick portamenti in the Baal Shem Suite and he is at pains to balance Hebraic fervour with high lying lyricism. The harp-like ripple of the second movement is a testament to Erez’s involving and colour-conscious playing. Shaham intelligently varies his tone here – this is not an understated Nigun but it is one that says a lot without saying too much. The joyous buoyancy and culminatory exultation of the finale show how adept the duo has been throughout – they pace the suite extremely well … The playing is insightful, expressive, and thoroughly idiomatic. These two musicians make an articulate and important statement about both composers’ work' (MusicWeb International)

'Performances are simply electrifying, and the relentless tension that they create is almost unbearable. A vividly recorded and superbly documented disc all round' (Classical.net)

'Les interprètes abordent ces deux compositeurs avec la ferveur à la fois distanciée et fiévruese qu'ils mettaient au service de Grieg. Ils imposent une grande liberté rhapsodique, mais sans rien de maniéré. Le son de Hagai Shaham est puissant, à la fois bourru et attendri' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

Hagai Shaham complète l'intégrale des oeuvres pour violon et piano de Bloch, commencée avec succès il y a deux ans. On retrouve dans le Bal Shem dans la Suite hébräique et dans les deux très rares Suites pour le violin seul, les mêmes qualités que dans les ouvrages déjà gravés: archet conquérant, superbe sonorité, phrasés élégants et intelligemment pensés donnant à l'interprétation sensualité ou spiritualité. Les trois oeuvres de Ben-Haïm—Sonate pour violin seul, Bercuese sfaradite et Improvisation et Dance —bénéficent également d'une lecture de tout premier plan … Toujours exemplaire, Anon Erez au piano, anticipe toutes les intentions de son partenaire' (Classica, France)
Suite No 1 for solo violin consists of four movements, played without a break: Preludio; Andante tranquillo; Allegro—Andante; Allegro energico. The brief prelude, grounded in a modified G minor, is rhapsodic in character, and evokes reminiscences of the melodic idiom in Voice in the Wilderness (for cello and orchestra, 1936) and the Violin Concerto (1938). This leads directly into the largely monophonic second movement with its fluctuations between tonality and atonality. The Allegro shifts to an E tonality, and is especially Bachian in its string crossing and chordal writing. This is followed by the short, reflective Andante in the key of D minor, which leads into the vigorous finale, again in G minor. As in many of Bloch’s composite works, the cyclic element is present here, with restatements of themes from previous movements, and the works closes on a dramatic tierce de Picardie.

from notes by Alexander Knapp © 2007

La Suite no 1 pour violon solo comprend quatre mouvements exécutés à la file: Preludio; Andante tranquillo; Allegro—Andante; et Allegro energico. De caractère rhapsodique, le bref prélude, fondé sur un sol mineur modifié, rappelle l’idiome mélodique de Voice in the Wilderness (violoncelle et orchestre, 1936) et du Concerto pour violon (1938). Il débouche directement sur le deuxième mouvement, essentiellement monophonique avec ses fluctuations entre tonalité et atonalité. L’Allegro central, qui passe à mi, affiche des croisements de cordes et une écriture en accords tout bachiens. S’ensuit le court et méditatif Andante en ré mineur, juste avant le vigoureux finale, de nouveau en sol mineur. Comme souvent dans les pièces composites de Bloch, l’élément cyclique est présent: les thèmes des mouvements antérieurs sont réexposés et l’œuvre s’achève sur une dramatique tierce picarde.

extrait des notes rédigées par Alexander Knapp © 2007
Français: Hypérion

Die Suite Nr. 1 für Solovioline hat vier Sätze, die ohne Unterbrechung gespielt werden: Preludio; Andante tranquillo; Allegro—Andante; Allegro energico. Das knappe Präludium, das auf modifiziertem g-Moll basiert, besitzt rhapsodischen Charakter und gemahnt an das melodische Idiom in Voice in the Wilderness („Stimme in der Wildernis“ für Cello und Orchester, 1936) und das Violinkonzert (1938). Dies leitet direkt in den weitgehend monophonen zweiten Satz über, der zwischen tonal und atonal fluktuiert. Der Allegro-satz rückt in eine E-Tonalität und ist mit seiner saitenüberkreuzenden Bogenführung und akkordischer Schreibweise besonders bachisch. Diesem folgt das kurze, besinnliche Andante in d-Moll, das ins energische Finale, wiederum in g-Moll, führt. Wie in vielen mehrsätzigen Werken Blochs ist auch hier durch Wiederholungen von Themen aus vorangegangenen Sätzen ein zyklisches Element präsent, und das Werk schließt mit einer dramatischen pikardischen Terz.

aus dem Begleittext von Alexander Knapp © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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