Biber – Bartok – Berio – Bach

Liza Ferschtman

Original Recording Format: DXD
Learn about choosing Quality and Channels

This is an invitation: an invitation to join me in an adventure. It would normally take place in the concert hall, because the combination of pieces I’m presenting to you here is not a typical programme for a CD. It’s an overwhelming recital that demands a great deal not only from me as the musician, but also from you as the audience. When I play this recital in a concert setting, which I’ve done on many occasions, I always find it to be a battle, where I’m reaching for my own limits and for the audience’s limits. But this is a constructive battle. The battle is the pathway and at the end of it we’re in a better place. From the stage, I can take the audience by the hand as stunning beauty alternates with uncomfortable and what can even be almost ugly sounds. But all of this is much harder on a CD, where it’s so easy to press the ‘forward’ button on the CD player…

However, these are exactly the pieces I wanted to record and I’m grateful to Challenge Records for offering me the opportunity. This is a highly personal programme, and not just because I’m entirely on my own, with no pianist or orchestra. That was also the case on my previous disc, presenting violin solo music by Ysaÿe and Bach, but here the feeling is even stronger. It’s a programme of contradictions: the ostensible simplicity of Biber and Bach contrasting with the complexity of Bartók and Berio. It’s emotional but at the same time highly cerebral. In these contradictions I recognize myself. I don’t consider myself to be a violinist for whom virtuosity is the greatest aim; that is not why I became a violinist. But yet I’ve chosen a solo programme here. That is contradictory, but what we’re dealing with is greater music and not just greater virtuosity. This is my musical autograph.

Bach’s Chaconne is the focal point, to which the works of Bartok and Berio make strong references , making it the core of this programme. Biber’s Passacaglia provides focus, with its persistent repeated cadence of the four falling notes. This pulse underpins the entire recital: sometimes hidden and barely audible, like a sort of primeval pulse (as in the Berio), and sometimes quite clear.

I’ve known Bartók’s Sonata since I was a youngster, when my teacher Philippe Hirschhorn used to play it at our home. It’s a piece that has always stayed with me. I even used to have Dénes Zsigmondy’s recording of the fugue as the welcoming music on my answering machine. It is a real masterpiece, with perfect form, and Bartók occasionally gives us a glimpse of a cosmos that he can see and hear even though we can’t quite yet. It’s the pinnacle of what is possible on the violin, without having virtuosity as its objective.

The consonance – or actually the battle – between two notes lies at the heart of Berio’s Sequenza VIII. This also presents us with a degree of ugliness. But after the powerful confrontations, as the music gradually subsides in volume – firstly with an ordinary mute and then with the even quieter practice mute – these two notes end up forming a brotherly union. The battle has led to some good after all. This is a really emotional moment


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Passagalia - Guardian angel - C.105
Sonata for solo violin Sz.117 - Tempo di ciaccona
Sonata for solo violin Sz.117 - Fuga
Sonata for solo violin Sz.117 - Melodia
Sonata for solo violin Sz.117 - Presto
Sequenza VIII for violin
Partita no.2 in d minor BWV 1004 - Allemanda
Partita no.2 in d minor BWV 1004 - Corrente
Partita no.2 in d minor BWV 1004 - Sarabanda
Partita no.2 in d minor BWV 1004 - Giga
Partita no.2 in d minor BWV 1004 - Ciaccona

Total time: 01:17:32

Additional information





, ,


, ,



, , ,




Siltch Mono Crystal

Digital Converters


Mastering Engineer

Bert van der Wolf

Mastering Equipment

Bert Van der Wolf





Original Recording Format


Bert van der Wolf

Recording Engineer

Brendon Heinst, Martijn van der Wolf

Recording location

Galaxy Studio, Mol, Belgium

Recording Software


Recording Type & Bit Rate


Release DateJuly 7, 2014

Press reviews

Positive Feedback

The album opens with the Passagalia “Guardian Angel” by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644 – 1704). It is a deceptively simple piece. Deceptive in that is starts simply, then tosses in incredibly fast and difficult passages that require a violinist of great facility to play cleanly, which Liza Ferschtman certainly does. For 8 minutes, the Biber tosses challenges at the violinist that are progressively more and more demanding. Ferschtman rises beautifully to each challenge, making wonderful music out of the whole, and not simply a bravura demonstration of technical skill.

Bartók’s Sonata…is incredibly rewarding to hear when played as well as it is played here…It is a misery to hear when played poorly. Fortunately for us, this is NOT the case with Ferschtman, whose performance is demonstration class.

Her performance of the Bach Partita is assured, clean and nicely varied.


Vier solowerken voor topsolisten, waarmee Liza Ferschtman aantoont dat zij tot de beste violistes van dit moment behoort.

Opus Klassiek

Een indrukwekkend recital waarin vier topwerken uit de literatuur voor vioolsolo tot klinken komen.

De Telegraaf

Ook als compleet recital overtuigt de cd doordat Ferschtman deze vier grote B’s onder een overkoepelende spanningsboog weet te plaatsen. Violistische soevereiniteit ten top.


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

More from this label