Gramophone Editor's Choice
Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaya has recorded both traditional repertoire and music by contemporary Turkish composer Fazil Say, and on this album she turns to folk traditions of Eastern Europe and music based on those traditions. In addition to the folk music of Hungary, Romania, and the Ukraine, she plays works by Romanians George Enescu and Grigoras Dinicu, Transylvanian György Ligeti, Hungarian György Kurtág, Maurice Ravel, and Cuban-Chinese composer Jorge Sanchez-Chiong, who was a classmate of Kopatchinskaya's in Vienna. The roots of this music are close to Kopatchinskaya's heart and the album is clearly a labor of love. Her father, Viktor Kopatchinsky, who was the premiere cimbalom player in the Soviet Union and is a dazzling virtuoso in his own right, joins her, as does her mother, violinist and violist Emilia Kopatchinskaya, and pianist Mihuela Ursuleasa and bassist Martin Gjakonovski. All the performers play with brilliant and uninhibited flair, and not surprisingly they have the most freedom to cut loose in the folk music, which comes off with ferocious primal energy. In Dinicu's Hora staccato in the arrangement by Heifetz, once a staple of violinists' encore repertoire, the cimbalom takes the piano part. Ravel made a version of his Tzigane for a piano modified to sound like a cimbalom, so it was a natural step to arrange the part for an actual cimbalom, and it's entirely effective, allowing the familiar piece to be heard in a new light. The most avant-garde piece, and one of the most entertaining, is Sanchez-Chiong's Crin, which requires as much virtuoso vocalization as fiddling. The appealing performances and repertoire make this an album that should be of interest to anyone who loves Eastern European folk music and spirited music-making. Naïve's sound is clear, present, and vibrant.