A Treasurable Recital By An Exceptional Violinist
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Leila Josefowicz is an artist of great physical and musical beauty and one with keen intelligence and respect for the entire spectrum of music written for the violin. No ordinary recital, this, but instead this is a sampler of many periods and styles of music conceived programmatically and played in a manner that makes each individual work glow.
The opening brief Theme: modere variations by Messiaen sets the tone for what is to follow. The work is transparent and filigreed with lovely lines and is an apropos prelude to the Ravel work that follows. Josefowicz thoroughly inhabits the French sound (as does her fine piano collaborator John Novacek) and the works feels simple in their hands. This is followed by some contemporary work by Mark Grey ("San Andreas Suite") that is challenging to the performer but immensely accessible to the listener.
That Josefowicz should include a work by Esa-Pekka Salonen is natural in that they have performed together frequently (their performance of John Adams' Violin Concerto in this year's LA Philharmonic repertoire was a tremendous success!). The piece is for unaccompanied violin and as with Salonen's other compositions, this work finds planes of color and expression unheralded by other composers. It is a bit of perfection.
To satisfy listeners unfamiliar with new music Josefowicz wisely includes Beethoven and Brahms and reminds us how well she plays the old masters as well as the new ones. The balance between piano and violin is excellent and the recorded sound is realistic and flawless. This is a challenging, educational and richly rewarding recital by a very gifted musician. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, June 05"
Roy U. Rojas Wahl | Teaneck, NJ United States | 06/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one the best recital CDs I have seen in long time, especially in terms of the choice of pieces performed. Ms Josefowicz's playing is solid and technically impeccable as usual, but this time she champions pieces that others seldomly dare to play. And how right she is! The Messiaen passes by fast, but then the Ravel is a first highlight, both in phrasing, rhythm and expression. The `San Andreas Suite' by Mark Grey convinces from a technical, virtuosic artistry perspective, but the true highlight to me is the Salonen. In my opinion, `Lachen Verlernt' is clearly the best piece Salonen has ever written. There is tension, there is lyricism, there is a story told (from Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire). In other words, this piece has the full spectrum that a solo violin can have: Memorable melodies, intelligence, and a emotional, haunting beauty as well as clever, well timed tone changes, but most of all: time. In other of his works, Salonen sometimes tends to rush us, tends to sound hectic; here there is nothing but an almost `Mahlerian' "do not rush"-approach. `Lachen Verlernt' is a drama and major masterpiece of our time, it will be remembered in generations from now, maybe accompanied only by John Adam's `Dharma at Big Sur' (for electric violin)... I think Esa-Pekka Salonen is the Jean Sibelius of our time, he just doesn't know it yet...
The Beethoven and Brahms are good, solid additions to this repertoire, but donot reach the novelty level of the Grey and Salonen.