March/April 2006

American Record Guide


BARTOK: Solo Violin Sonata; Sonata 2; Contrasts
Annar Folleso, vl; Bjorn Nyman, cl; Christian Ihle Hadland, p

2L 28 [SACD] 66 minutes

Annar Folleso won a violin prize at the Salzburg Festival for his interpretation of the Bartok Solo Violin Sonata, and from hearing this
recording I can certainly understand why. He plays with extraordinary clarity and care, and manages to bring out all of the dialogs between
the voices in the solo violin writing without ever compromising the beauty of his sound. He makes this monument of complicated 20th Century solo violin writing easy to understand and extremely enjoyable to listen to. I am particularly impressed with the way he
plays the fugue.

Folleso and Hadland bring out many of the introspective qualities of the Second Sonata, making a wonderful preparation for Contrasts.
I love this performance of Contrasts, a piece that works particularly well when recorded in SACD because this way of recording allows each instrumentís tonal colors to sound natural, making the sound as close as I have heard to the sounds of instruments in concert.
I enjoy hearing this recording of the piece because it has almost the same feeling of depth as a concert performance. It also plays
perfectly well on both a normal CD player and a computer.

For some odd acoustic reason the violin and clarinet, though they share a nearly identical range, never really blend. Each instrument
maintains its own space. Bartok makes the most of this contrasting aspect of the instruments, and rather than treating the piano as a
support for either instrument, or to help the voices to blend, its role in the piece is also to create contrast.

This is a wonderful recording. All the playing is superb.

Author: Elaine Fine


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