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- 26. DEC 2010, published in « California Chronicles » and « Buffalo News », Text: Jeff Simon
Rachel Kolly D'Alba, "Passion Ysaye" (Warner Classics).
Well, OK, if that's what a beautiful young violin virtuoso wants to call a disc that others might simply call Ysaye's Six Sonatas for Solo Violin Op. 27, more power to her. It certainly gets the idea across. And when you hear D'Alba's altogether joyously impetuous performance of the first movement of Ysaye's Second Sonata -- based on the old medieval chant "Dies Irae" -- you understand why she's calling this disc "Passion Ysaye." While Ysaye's unaccompanied violin sonatas are unquestionably lesser works than Bach's unaccompanied violin music, they're also, arguably, more interesting to modern ears than the unaccompanied violin music of Paganini. Ysaye (1858-1931) was, probably, the great violinist after Paganini. His quartet premiered the quartet of his friend Debussy. And, as a virtuoso, Pablo Casals was said to have told people that he was the first violinist he ever heard play in tune. D'Alba is a formidable interpreter. 3 1/2 stars (Jeff Simon)
Young violin virtuoso Rachel Kolly D'Alba is a formidable interpreter of Belgian composer Eugene Ysaye's sonatas.