Theme and Variations

Thoughts and experiences of exploring classical, jazz, and other art music.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Beriot

Two other CDs have been playing for me lately, one of solo violin works, and another of violin duets.

The solo works include his 12 Scenes ou Caprices pour le violon, Op. 109, plus Nine Studies, and his Prelude ou Improvisation, Op. Post., performed by Bella Hristova. The scenes are given titles that indicate the mood of the music. For example, the first one, La Separation, begins with a sad largo followed by a con moto section, both of which return to end the scene. La Fougue (The Spirit, The Fire) is a vivace con fuoco with a martial section of double stops.

The Nine Studies are said to be "vintage Beriot study material that rises to the level of artistry in the hands of a master," according to the CD liner notes.

The last work, the Prelude ou Improvisation has few bar lines, and alternates between quiet and energetic, lyrical and virtuosic playing. Before the work is done, the performer will have used a number of violinist's tricks.

By far, though, my favorite has been the recording of violin duets. There are three Duo Concertants, Op. 57, each of them consisting of three movements. These are great works, with some beautiful lyric sections. They have been very comforting to me during my migraine attacks, as I listen to them in the dark. The recording also includes Six Characteristic Duos, Op. 113, based on themes from a Prince Yusupov's Ballet Espagnol. These are a set of fun works, the violins "imitating" guitars, playing various themes, including a fandango and a bolero.

I found a YouTube video of the artists, Christine Sohn and John Marcus, making their Naxos recording of the duets.



These Beriot recordings have been a great discovery for me, and I'll be on the watch for more of his works (I have already ordered a recording of piano trios). I highly recommend these works for anyone's collection. Since many of them are on the Naxos label, the CD's are not costly, and are indeed a bargain.

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