The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Prokofiev: Solo Violin Sonata in D major op.115, Violin Sonatas no.1 in F minor op.80 & no.2 in D major op.94a, Sonata for two violins in C major op.56*, Five Melodies op.35bis, Waltz from ‘War and Peace’, Scherzo, Russian Dance from ‘The Stone Flower’
Friday, 01 December 2006
Tatiana Samouil (violin) Boris Brovtsyn (violin)* Plamena Mangova (piano)
Cypres CYP 1646 (2 discs)
St Petersburg-born Tatiana Samouil brings authentic Russian grit to these performances, with real string-biting playing in the Allegro brusco of Prokofiev’s First Sonata and the final Allegro precipitato of the Solo Sonata. What she brings also to Prokofiev’s wide-ranging demands is a consistently focused tone that can seduce, in the charm-filled first movement of the Second Sonata; thrill, in the eroico theme of that same Allegro brusco; and lull, in the variation theme of the Solo Sonata.
Some of the most striking playing here is also the most gentle, and Samouil is a player who knows that a Prokofiev accent does not always call for a demonic attack. This is fundamentally lyrical playing, concerned with musical direction and structural shape. The Sonata for two violins is a cool delight, all subtle melodic inflections, and the Second Sonata is as fleet as a stolen flute sonata should be. Samouil’s two companions prove sensitive partners, and the resonance of the recorded sound gives body while still allowing intimacy. Samouil can also create real atmosphere: the final pages of the first sonata are too chilling to be listened to alone.
From the December 2006 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.