7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
When listening to this recording for the first time I was immediately struck by the sensitivity and grace of the performance, and by the warm and realistic sound of the recording. This is a truly exceptional disc.
Arturo Delmoni plays with much passion, taste, and understanding. He is technically first rate and it is difficult to understand why he is not better known. Delmoni and his instrument, a 1780 Guadagnini with a warm, pleasant sound, are very well presented here. The setting is a small hall, actually a chapel, with an ideal acoustic. The reverberation time is about one second and it is well damped, adding a fine bloom to the sound. The exceptionally clear, close-up recording presents all the fine details of the performance and the full range of timbres produced by the violin.
The program opens with the second of Ysaÿe's six sonatas for solo violin. The piece begins with a quote from the first bar of the Bach Partita in E, so the recital is planned as a neat cycle. The sonata continues with more excerpts from Bach, and variations on these, giving the impression of a violinist warming up by playing the most difficult passages of a recital. The second of the four movements is a quiet "Malinconia" and the third is a "Danse des Ombres" with a wonderful, rustic feel. It has a distinct American accent here, almost bluegrass - an interesting contrast to Gidon Kremer's drier Slavic version. The finale, "Les Furies," is reminiscent of Paganini's Caprices with added modern-sounding dissonances and timbres. Some passages are played close to the bridge for a very thin tone. Delmoni handles this difficult showpiece in the best virtuoso manner.
The Kreisler piece is brief (a little over five minutes) and in two movements. The first is dark and moody, slow and expressive, and the second is brighter and faster, more showy, and mostly in double stops. This piece exhibits less of a retrospective style than most of Kreisler's better known compositions, which he ascribed to other composers. It provides an interlude between the more serious works.
The opening movements of the D minor Partita are presented with gravity and a good sense of the long phrases used by Bach.
The high point of the whole program must be the great Chaconne that ends the Partita. In this set of variations on a four-bar theme Bach presents and develops a vast array of moods and ideas and demands an equally broad range of technique from the performer, ranging from the most delicate pianissimo to full chords and triple-stops. (The greatest violinist of our day, David Oistrakh, never felt fully equal to the task and never recorded this work.)
The Chaconne is full of contrasts and shifts of mood and the best interpretations are the ones that handle these transitions well. Delmoni takes much of the piece at a deliberate tempo and manages the drama well, building considerable tension in the last sections. His tone here is rich, and sometimes astringent, giving very effective coloration.
Overall this is a very impressive release, one of the best violin discs I've heard in years. Delmoni is a brilliant and charismatic performer with a very personal and likable style. And this recording is of demonstration quality, one of the most realistic representations of a performance you're likely to hear.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Violinist Arturo Delmoni plies his craft at somewhat of a lonely distance from the high-octane, jet-setting world of many virtuosos. It should be no great surprise then to find him recording alone, at night, in a deserted monastery as he does here-and as always, with distinctive results.
Instead of trying to knock himself out going head-to-head with the media hogs, Delmoni has judiciously carved out a special niche for himself as a fully-equipped but carefully discriminating artist. There is no question of his mastery of the instrument. He plays a mellow Guadagnini violin made in 1780; it makes a uniquely sweet but sturdy sound quite unlike a Stradivarius or Amati. One senses in his playing a questing intellect seeking to pull something unique or personal from the printed notes, yet without twisting or abusing the composer's intentions. And though a thinker, he does not hesitate to dig the bow in deep and to sing out with full-throated Romantic tone.
In this album he tackles three of the greatest violinists of the past and their works, but not at random. He has deliberately chosen a program in which the three disparate compositions seem to complement each other and even form a kind of cycle. No mere showing off here, but music that stimulates real reactions and makes one see connections perhaps previously unnoticed.
He opens with one of the brilliant six sonatas for solo violin by the great Belgian virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe, His Op. 27/2, subtitled "Obsession." The first movement quotes from one of J. S. Bach's solo partitas; elsewhere he refers several times to the grim "Dies Irae" theme from the Latin Requiem, as Rachmaninov was to do so obsessively himself, years later. This is a strikingly dramatic sonata that makes you sit at attention, and Delmoni plays it with fiery intensity.
At the other end of the program is one of Bach's solo partitas; characteristically, Delmoni does not opt for the pat and obvious choice of the E major which inspired Ysaÿe, but No. 2 in D minor. Forming a bridge between these two pillars is an unusually serious Recitativo and Scherzo by Fritz Kreisler, played with velvet tone and remarkable expression. In the Bach, Delmoni doesn't affect a "period" approach, but neither does he play without regard to the music's fixed parameters. It is a latter-day interpretation, but a highly respectful one that fully convinces, displaying vividly all the nuances of this great music. Especially thrilling is Delmoni's rock-solid traversal of the final vast Chaconne.
The recording is clear, warm, and close, and only enhanced by the slight extra reverberance of the monastery walls. [It was originally released on another label, but has been remastered for JMR.] On several counts this album is a rarity, but principally because it provides a full-course nourishing dinner instead of a mere smorgasbord of random appetizers. It held my rapt attention, and the next day I put it on again and couldn't tear myself away. Can't say that about many violin recitals!
- Published on Amazon.com
A beautifully played collection of solo violin works with Arturo Delmoni extracting tonal colors galore from a 1780 violin made by J. B. Guadagnini. Orginally recorded by Kavi Alexander for Water Liliy Acoustics in 1988 and remastered into CD/R by Robert Ludwig. This is a first class production from beginning to end captured in the natuarl acoustic of Christ the King Chapel, Saint Anthony's Seminary in Santa Barbara, California. Highly recommended.