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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Carolin Widmann, L'Aurore, Music for Solo Violin, Music by Ysay, Benjamin, Hildegard of Bingen, Enesu, Bach


Music for solo string instruments seems to be surging in popularity and frequency of performance like perhaps never before. In the past few weeks I have covered several albums partly or solely devoted to such things. So today once more. This time it is an all-solo album put across with wonderful spirit and microscopic nuance by Carolin Widmann, whose excellent playing we have appreciated several times before on here--type her name in the search box above for those review articles.

The album at hand is evocatively entitled L'Aurore (ECM New Series 2709). In it we are treated to some six nicely contrasting, skyfully filled works. The program begins with a short, tenderly meditative working of a piece by the pioneering early music composer Hildegard of Bingen, as realized for solo violin. It is later reprised to dramatic effect. The Ysaye Sonata No. 5 is playful and intimate, thanks especially to Carolin's ecstatic and virtuoso reading. George Benjamin (b. 1960) and his "Three Miniatures" gives us an Expessionistic clangorousness that is a delight to hear in Ms. Widmann's hands. Equally essential is Georges Enescu's "Fantasie Concertante" with its characteristic verve and concentrated line spelling artfulness.

The finale is the spectacularly singing and heartful lyricism of Widmann's triumphant performance of Bach's Partita No. 2, one of the most interesting and satisfying versions I have had the pleasure to hear.

And that is the sum of it, a wonderful offering that affirms Carolin Widmann's place as one of the most singular and accomplished violin soloist alive. I recommend this with no reservations. It is a delight from start to finish.,

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