Press Release - September, 1999
VIRTUOSO DUOS FOR VIOLIN AND CELLO
Former “Teammates” Rachel Barton and Wendy Warner
The twentieth century has proved a golden age for big, virtuosic duos for violin and cello.
Violinist Rachel Barton and cellist Wendy Warner, major-league soloists and lifelong friends, dispatch daunting duos by four composers on Double Play (Cedille CDR 90000 047). Works include Martin_’s Duo No. 2 (1958); Schulhoff’s Duo (1925); Ravel’s Sonata (1922); and Kodály’s Duo, Op. 7 (1914) — all recorded in a way that gives equal stature to both instruments.
Martinu’s Duo sustains high energy, especially in the Poco Allegro third movement, which features a wild refrain theme and bariolage (bowing involving rapid shifting between strings).
Fellow Czech Erwin Schulhoff offers a persuasive merger of folk and contemporary elements, combining traditional Central European folk rhythms with modern string effects, such as left-hand pizzicatos and high harmonics.
Ravel’s large-scale sonata is so challenging that the violinist who gave the premiere chided the composer: “It must be fun writing such difficult stuff, but no one’s going to play it except virtuosos.” Ravel smiled: “Good! Then I shan’t be assassinated by amateurs.”
Kodály’s Duo blends Hungarian folk materials with the formal structure of art music. Particularly striking is the Adagio’s trio-like middle section in which the cello provides a bowed soprano melody and a plucked-bass accompaniment as the violin spins a counter-melody in the alto range.
Cedille engineer Bill Maylone recorded the CD with a single pair of Schoeps MK21 near-cardioid mics for a clean, detailed sound.
The pairing of Ms. Barton and Ms. Warner reunites two former child prodigies who began their musical collaborations in 1985 as members of the Winnetka, Ill., Diller String Quartet, which went on to win the 1988 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. The two played Brahms' Double Concerto in A minor in 1996 with the Chicago Youth Symphony in Chicago's Grant Park Music Festival, a performance which inspired the Chicago Tribune's Dan Tucker to write, "Barton, Warner are 2 of a kind: brilliant . . . This was a memorable concert; let us hope for more like it."
Both artists hold championship titles. Ms. Barton won the gold medal in the Ninth Quadrennial J.S. Bach International Violin Competition in Leipzig (1992). Ms. Warner won first prize in the Fourth International Rostropovich Competition in Paris (1990).
This is Ms. Barton’s fourth recording for Cedille. Her earlier releases were Handel Sonatas for Violin and Continuo (CDR 90000 032); Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries (CDR 90000 035); and Instrument of the Devil (CDR 90000 041). In May, she will perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Placido Domingo.
This is Ms. Warner’s first recording for Cedille. She recently appeared with Anne-Sophie Mutter in the Brahms Double Concerto with L’Orchestre de Paris, Semyon Bychkov conducting.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary this fall, Cedille Records (pronounced say-DEE) is dedicated to showcasing Chicago’s most noteworthy classical artists. The label is an arm of the nonprofit Chicago Classical Recording Foundation.
Cedille CDs are distributed to retailers by Qualiton Imports and are available at finer record stores nationally. For a free catalog and the whereabouts of local retail outlets, consumers are invited to write to Cedille Records, 5255 N. Lakewood Ave., Chicago, IL 60640-2220, call (773) 989-2515, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cedille Records is on the World Wide Web at http://www.cedillerecords.org.
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