MOSZKOWSKI Works for Violin and Piano
This invaluable selection revives three of Moszkowski’s works for violin and piano (the composer was a fine violinist as well as a virtuoso pianist), bookended with transcriptions by virtuoso violinists of some piano works. The most impressive example of the former is the Suite for two violins, Op 71 (1903), four melodic, beautifully crafted movements which in style and substance are in no way inferior to anything of the sort Saint-Saëns might have written. It is a puzzle why more violinists have not taken it up, especially after it was championed in the 1970s by Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman and pianist Samuel Sanders (now available as a single CD or as part of Warner Classics’ 70th-birthday tribute to Perlman – A/15). Here Nazrin Rashidova duets with herself in a performance that, if it does not have quite the same panache, falls not far short, and is certainly the equal of Ilya Gringolts, Alexander Bulov and Irina Ryumina (BIS, 2/00) and less in-your-face than Urban Svensson, Jorgen Svensson and Per Tengstrand (Chamber Sound). Only slightly less appealing are the once-popular Ballade and Bolero that constitute the earlier Zwei Concertstücke (1878), and the Four Pieces, Op 82 (1909). The last of these, ‘Humoresque’, must surely find favour as a lively encore.
The transcriptions highlight Moszkowski’s wonderful melodic gift and zest for life (who has not bashed their way through the Spanish Dances and come away feeling better for it?). Rashidova is an accomplished player and has assembled a programme that might inspire some of her peers. Is her tone always as alluring as it could be? No. And Daniel Grimwood, fine pianist as he is, can be a little too self-effacing. I should have welcomed a more forward placing in the balance. But no matter: the aplomb and character of this excellent duo’s playing carry the day.