Violinist Maria Milstein returns to NativeDSD with her 8th album in DSD Stereo and DSD Multichannel. On Sonatas for Two Violins from Challenge Classics, Mathieu van Bellen and Maria Milstein have chosen an unusual format for their album – two violins without accompaniment playing rarely performed works by Prokofiev, Ysaye, and Gorecki.
The setting of this album – two violins without accompaniment – is no ordinary combination, and the repertoire, though encompassing several style periods from the Baroque to the 21st century, is much smaller than that of a more standard duo such as violin and piano. It is particularly striking that there are very few major works written for this setting, even compared to other string instrument combinations such as violin/viola or violin/cello. This has to do with the fact that the possibilities in which two instruments of the same range offer are more limited than those offered by two instruments of higher and lower registers combined – this seeming lack of variety in range and effects have stopped most composers from using this medium for their works. There were however composers who took this limitation as a challenge and created true masterpieces with a fascinating sound world, making one forget about the “restricted” means available.
“When choosing a program for this album, we were adamant to present works which, rather than using virtuosic violin display as a means to an end, are masterworks in their own right, where the virtuosity of writing is a simple tool used to create breathtaking landscapes and thrilling stories. Three different countries and three different universes, though all three composed within less than half a century – the Sonatas for Two Violins by Serguei Prokofiev, Henryk Gorecki and Eugene Ysaye show with their incredible variety how exciting a violin duo can be.” – Mathieu van Bellen and Maria Milstein
Total time: 01:03:56
dCS & Merging Technologies
Bert van der Wolf
|Original Recording Format|
Bert van der Wolf
Bert van der Wolf, Northstar Recording Services BV
Galaxy Studio’s, Mol, Belgium
|Recording Type & Bit Rate|
|Release Date||May 29, 2020|
There are very few major works written for two violins only, perhaps due to the seeming lack of variety in range and effect. This album from Challenge Classics presents three demonstrable masterpieces from composers who took this limitation as a challenge. All in masterful performances and in demonstration quality sound. Most highly recommended.
If you enjoy music of the twentieth century, do not pass this album by. You need to hear it, it deserves a place in your music library.
Together, Milstein and van Bellen deliver performances with an excellent shared sense of the music they are interpreting. They perform as one, weaving and complementing and contrasting with a superb sense of timing and shared intention. Simply a delightful duo to hear.
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