SCHUBERT Music for Violin, Vol 1 (Ariadne Daskalakis)
Schubert’s music for violin and orchestra doesn’t suffer from over-familiarity in concert and, lasting only about half an hour in total, is rarely collected together on disc, so this first volume of Schubert’s ‘Music for Violin’ is a valuable exercise on that count alone. Ariadne Daskalakis is at one with her 1754 Gaudagnini and a fine advocate for these occasional works, composed for private performance, most likely for Schubert’s elder brother Ferdinand. All three are works of easy charm, the D major Konzertstück given added gravitas by the addition of trumpets and drums. Michael Alexander Willens and his Cologne players offer sure-footed accompaniment.
The Sonatinas are more regular fare and it is worthwhile hearing the third of the trio on period instruments. Paolo Giacometti’s fortepiano is by Salvatore Lagrassa, c1815, which comes into its own in the major work here, the C major Fantasie, D934. The other works all date from Schubert’s late teens (the Polonaise just sneaks into his twenties) but the Fantasie is a fully mature work from the penultimate year of the composer’s short life, displaying all the features of his greatest music: heavenly length, rapturous outpouring of melody, innovative harmonic subtlety and fiendish technical demands on both players. Giacometti’s fortepiano provides a beguiling shimmer at the outset, although accompanied, unavoidably, by a fair degree of action noise (not that it really matters in this context). It also has a pleasing ‘chime’ when it opens up to expose the song theme in the Andantino. Again, Daskalakis is in full control, even if not perhaps discovering the shadings revealed (on modern instruments) by the likes of Isabelle Faust (Harmonia Mundi, 5/06) or Carolin Widmann (ECM, 5/12). The B minor Rondeau brillant, presumably slated for Vol 2, should be a treat.