Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin
Fazil Say, piano


Beethoven, Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, op. 47, ‘Kreutzer’
Ravel, Violin Sonata in G major
Bartí³k, Romanian Folk Dances, sz. 56
Fazil Say, Violin Sonata, op. 7

I must confess that I didn’t plan on reviewing this disc. I get several discs to review that, to quote Steve Hicken, “…don’t really fit in with S21’s mission. This is usually because of genre or because the music isn’t recent enough.” I saw this disc and thought “Beethoven, Ravel, and Bartí³k aren’t exactly ‘new.’ The Say might be interesting, but is the whole disc worth reviewing for one piece?” In a word, no. The whole disc is not worth reviewing for one piece. The disc is worth reviewing because the performances of all these pieces are absolutely amazing. The Say sonata is an excellent work, to boot.

Kopatchinskaja’s violin sound is icy and cool, almost fragile sounding, with nimble technique. The opening gestures of the Beethoven are strikingly thin and delicate. There is plenty of power, though, as Kopatchinskaja will later demonstrate. Kopatchinskaja maintains a dry and textured tone while gracefully bouncing around the demands of the Beethoven and Ravel (the Perpetuum mobile of which is absolutely delightful). The first strains of the Bartí³k sound almost like a totally different violinist. The texture of her sound is still there, but so is a rich earthiness which wasn’t present in the Beethoven or Ravel. I love both of her sounds equally, but the glassy and cool is much more pronounced on this CD.

Fazil Say’s piano work is equally powerful and sensitive. His Violin Sonata is an engaging, Impressionist-influenced, colorful work with luscious melodies and harmonies. Each of Say’s five movements (Melancholy, Grotesque, Perpetuum mobile, Anonymous, and Melancholy) traverse excellent internal trajectories as well as maintain a cyclic large-scale arch structure. The Anonymous movement is gorgeous with its haunting violin melody and later muted piano plunking. Kopatchinskaja soars about as much as she scrambles in this piece. There is a great sense of communal music making in this sonata and on this whole CD in general.

One Response to “Kopatchinskaja|Say”
  1. Vanessa Lann says:

    Patricia Kopatchinskaja is an incredible violinist, and when she performs live, there are even more exciting, as well as beautifully nuanced, layers to her playing. She puts her entire being – physically, mentally and emotionally – into the works she performs, and she carries her audience along with every sound, gesture and silence. But this is not to say that her playing is at all self-conscious or sentimental – far from it, in fact. She *listens* as intensely as she plays, which allows the MUSIC to speak for itself, one of the reasons why she is so spectacular when playing modern works (to which she enthusiastically devotes much of her time and joy).

    Last July she gave a very special performance of my “Springs Eternal” (with pianist Hiroaki Ooi) during the West Cork Music Festival in Ireland. She made the music sing, breathe and dance, and she engaged the public every step of the way with energy and humor. She brings the same freshness of tone and spirit to music of past centuries, so I’m really pleased that you wrote this review, and I’m going to run out and try to find this disc in my local Dutch cd shop as soon as possible. Thanks!

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