LALO Symphonie espagnole. Sonate. Arlequin. Guitare

Sibelius Competition winner explores Lalo’s violin-writing

Author: 
Geoffrey Norris

Lalo_Symphonie espagnole; Sonate; Arlequin; Guitare

  • Symphonie espagnole
  • Sonata
  • Arlequin
  • Guitare

Conceived in the 1870s for the virtuosity and personality of Pablo de Sarasate, Edouard Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole finds another dynamic soloist here in the young Russian-born violinist Nikita Boriso-Glebsky. His timbre has both sparkle and depth, and he is fully equal to the technical high jumps with which Lalo capitalised on Sarasate’s gifts. Sinfonia Varsovia, conducted by Augustin Dumay, bring clear focus and punch to the Spanish rhythms that define the piece, Lalo responding both to Sarasate’s nationality and to the Parisian predilections for things Iberian that also provided the inspiration for Bizet’s Carmen during the same decade. But this performance is not all about vibrancy. The solemn Andante, the fourth movement of the five-movement Symphonie espagnole, emphasises that Boriso-Glebsky also has deep artistic feelings in the way he shapes the melancholy contours of the melody with such purity, tenderness and touching restraint. Likewise his essential musicality colours the more vigorous components of the symphony, demonstrating that this is no mere vehicle for showmanship but rather a piece that requires not just an athletic technique but acuity of interpretation as well.

The Violin Sonata also has links with Sarasate, who gave the first performance in 1873 with Bizet on the piano, but here the style abnegates any overt Spanish references in favour of something less individual but nevertheless shot through with deft imagination and charm. Boriso-Glebsky and Jean-Philippe Collard play it with great panache, and bring nice touches of character to the impish salon miniatures Arlequin and Guitare.

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