Search This Blog

Monday, August 3, 2020

Alexander Woods, Refractions, Music for Violin and Piano by Asplund, Dvorak, Mozart, Thornock

Violinist Alexander Wood shows us his versatility and prowess on the recent four-work program Refraction: Music for Violin and Piano (MSR Classics 1689). He has his considerable way with a memorable Classical work (Mozart's "Violin Sonata No. 26"), a somewhat neglected 19th century Romantic gem (Dvorak's "Four Romantic Pieces") and two Contemporary Modern works of note (Christian Asplund's "One Eternal Round" and Neil Thornock's "A Crust of Azure").

Alexander gets some beautiful piano support and artistry by Rex Woods. Note too that Aubrey Smith Woods plays a nicely forward second violin on "One Eternal Round."

Regardless of the period and province of the four works, Alexander Woods shows us just how beautiful his tone is, sweetly singing but differentiated from a Heifetz by its relative extroversion and kinetic robustness. That is just to say of course that Heifetz is another kind of beautiful.

On Mozart's "Violin Sonata No. 26" we get some very impeccable phrasing (from the violin and the piano). I am not that familiar with this sonata but no matter because the performance is really celestial. The Andantino (second movement) has a touching tenderness about it that helps put this forward as high above the norm.

Neil Thornock (b. 1977) gives us a very sophisticated and dynamic "A Crust of Azure" for violin and piano. The violin part makes considerable demands on Alexander yet he comes through with power, sweetness and a rather formidable sense of dash. There is an exotically Eastern caste to the music often enough, perhaps slightly Slavic, Gypsy-Romanian, all with a definite Modern twist to the tonality. It is a finely crafted and inspired work played to a "tee."

The violin duet "One Eternal Round" by Christian Asplund gives us a quasi-Minimal concentrism that is moving to experience; and then the Dvorak has a real presence in this reading, once again with that Eastern European flourish that Alexander handles so deftly.

Alexander Woods is a world-class talent, brilliant to hear and rehear. The program does not flag, keeps uncovering new accomplishments in writing and playing! I recommend this one gladly.

No comments:

Post a Comment