Sonata for Viola and Piano
Sonata in G minor for Unaccompanied Violin
Cinderella – Five Pieces [transcribed Fichtenholz]
Mavra – Chanson russe
Petrushka – Danse russe [both transcribed Dushkin & the composer]
Lydia Mordkovitch (violin) & Nicholas Walker (piano) with Julian Milford (piano; Stravinsky)
Recorded 3 & 4 October 2008 and 21-23 November 1998 (Stravinsky) in Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk
Reviewed by: Tully Potter
Reviewed: July 2009
CD No: CHANDOS CHAN 10526
Duration: 76 minutes
In the transcriptions from Prokofiev’s Cinderella, by another Oistrakh pupil, Mikhail Fichtenholz (or in Russian, Fichtengolz), one really does need more lightness: the ‘Waltz’ is like a dancing elephant some of the time. Best here is the fourth piece, ‘Winter Fairy’, but go to Oistrakh – who also recorded all five pieces, three of them twice – and there is no comparison.
Stravinsky’s ‘Chanson russe’ (from “Mavra”) has been most often heard in recent years in Yuri Bashmet’s adaptation for the viola. Mordkovitch does it quite nicely but in the Petrushka piece (‘Danse russe’) she is very astringent and could be more precise – even a decade ago her playing was on the blowsy side.
Chandos’s presentation is not very helpful but if you read MacDonald’s notes, all will become clear. The recordings are all too lifelike, alas. In the last resort you will have to balance your hunger for the repertoire with your own estimation of the violinist.