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Beethoven, Ives, Antheil etc

Tartini/Kreisler: Variations on a theme by Corelli
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 'Spring'
Ives: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 4 'Children's Day at the Camp Meeting'
J.S. Bach: Partita No. 1 in B minor for Solo Violin, BWV 1002
Antheil: Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1
Chopin Nocturne in Eb
Kreisler - salon piece

Hilary Hahn & Valentina Lisitsa

Cadogan Hall, London, 18 May, 2011

A very fine recital by a violinist who had attracted our attention with her Sibelius/Schoenberg Concertos CD.

Kreisler at beginning and end established a warm feeling in the large audience, a very mixed one with a good sprinkling of attentive and well behaved young violinist children.

The Beethoven - appropriate for our exceptional 2011 spring - was sheer delight, both artists in perfect partnership, matched in give-and-take balance.

The Ives was a special pleasure, very welcome soon after the arrival of the Tilson-Thomas DVD of his Holiday Symphony, soon to be reviewed as time allows *. The only regret was that it was the shortest of his four sonatas.

The Bach No 1 partita (not the ore usual one with the Chaconne) was, predictably by now, impeccable and expressive throughout, given on an empty stage - no music stand for this very challenging programme - is she recording it too, since all the music had been so thoroughly assimilated?

About the Antheil we weren't so sure. It began in an attractive Stravinskian mode, but soon gave way to a variety of anarchic incursions from the composer who liked being known as the "bad boy of music". We found it overlong and, in truth, rather tedious. But I find it is well respected and recorded, so I must tackle it again...

A nice touch to have the pianist come onto the platform alone for the first encore - she really ought to have been giving equal print size billing in the programme! And a very familiar Kreisler piece (I couldn't name it) to restore normality before we tackled London's transport, was perfect.

A memorable evening in one of London's best recital venues; more comfortable than Wigmore Hall, with good sight-lines and - dare I suggest it? - better acoustics too...

Peter Grahame Woolf

* meanwhile, see http://www.musicweb-international.com/ives_dvd