Jack Liebeck and Katya Apekisheva have stripped away the sugary coating that has, over the years, surrounded Fritz Kreisler’s original compositions and revealed pleasing duets and often interesting conversational pieces where the piano plays an equal role. Eighteen tracks contain his best known works, Liebesleid, Liebesfreud and Tambourin chinois, together with a sprinkling of the less frequently performed pieces including the Toy Soldiers’ March and the highly energised La chasse.
Liebeck seems a little anxious to push the tempo forward at the opening of the Praeludium and Allegro, but elsewhere tempos and the adherence to the printed dynamic markings are unfailingly accurate. Of course we remember and cherish Kreisler’s recordings with his wide and warm vibrato in such works as Polichinelle and Marche miniature viennoise, but although Liebeck’s tone, by comparison, is more open and vibrant, both violinists share the serious approach that is a long way from the throwaway encores we normally hear. An outgoing show of violin virtuosity is left until the end with quite superb accounts of the Recitative and Scherzo, and Kreisler’s arrangement of Tartini’s ‘Devil’s Trill’ Sonata.
The engineers provide an ideal balance and pleasing sound to complete an outstanding release.