Trans­fix­ing Me­ta­mor­pho­sis

BBC Music Magazine - - Instrumental Reviews -

JS Bach: Vi­o­lin Sonata No. 3 in C;

Hin­demith: Sonata for Solo Vi­ola; Ligeti: Sonata for Solo Vi­ola

Je­sus Rodolfo (vi­ola)

Odradek ODRCD 367 63:21 mins

This recital, en­ti­tled Trans­fix­ing Me­ta­mor­pho­sis, sets out to show how the tech­nique and spirit of Bach’s solo string writ­ing has been trans­muted in the work of two 20th-cen­tury mas­ters. It makes for a fairly tough lis­ten. Though for­mi­da­ble in tech­nique, the young Span­ish vir­tu­oso Je­sus Rodolfo in­clines more towards in­ten­sity of de­liv­ery than beauty of sound, and his grainy, slightly dry tone is barely mit­i­gated by a res­o­nant record­ing acous­tic. Then, too, the trans­pos­ing of the Bach sonata down a fifth to F ma­jor, to take in the vi­ola’s lower range, seems to muddy its sound and com­pound its for­mi­da­ble tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties. And in the vast and tax­ing fu­gal se­cond move­ment there are mo­ments of dodgy in­to­na­tion, though Rodolfo finds a more con­vinc­ing flow for the fast fi­nale.

★in­demith, whose side-ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional vi­o­list in­cluded premier­ing Wal­ton’s Vi­ola Con­certo, was ev­i­dently a pretty down­right, no non­sense player him­self, and his neo-baroque Sonata for Solo Vi­ola Op. 11, No. 5 (1919) comes from his most feisty youth­ful pe­riod of acrid chro­mati­cism – though Rodolfo floats its slow se­cond move­ment with plain­tive elo­quence. Ligeti’s late six-move­ment Sonata for

Solo Vi­ola (1991-94) ranges from a post-bartók folk­lorism – in which the ‘off’ in­to­na­tion that we hear is, in this in­stance, ex­actly what he asks for – to an im­pos­ing ‘Cha­conne chro­ma­tique’. But here, for all his en­ergy, Rodolfo is both less rhyth­mi­cally ac­cu­rate and less char­ac­ter­ful than the record­ing made un­der Ligeti’s su­per­vi­sion by the work’s orig­i­nal per­former Tabea Zim­mer­mann. Bayan North­cott

PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★

RECORD­ING ★★★

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