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Classical Music Review

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Modern American Works For Violin and Piano


Composers: Arthur Gottschalk, Karl Blench and Erberk Eryilmaz
Performed by: Duo Dramatique (Dominika Dancewicz (violin) and Donald Doucet (piano)
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 November 2021

Duo Dramatique delivers fierce and thoughtful performances of genre-bending programs with an undercurrent of social and emotional issues. On Crossroads, violinist Dominika Dancewicz and pianist Donald Doucet perform three original works written to highlight their style and talents. Arthur Gottschalk’s 'Sonata for Violin and Piano' pays homage to great jazz violinists of the 20th century, with echoes of 'Bluesette' and 'When Sunny Gets Blue.' Karl Blench’s 'Sonata “In D” For Violin and Piano' traverses distinct moods, using music to depict sarcasm, humour, and quiet serenity. Erberk Eryilmaz’s 'Insistent Music' draws inspiration from Eastern European folk music to close out the album with percussive patterns and bursting melodic lines...

The three works on this collection make for interesting listening. They're not necessarily pieces that you'd think would sit comfortably side by side, and yet they compliment each other wonderfully.

'Sonata for Violin and Piano' pays homage to great jazz violinists of the 20th century... and if you're in any doubt of what the composer set out to achieve, just listen to 'Frigo (Lazy Ballad)'. This clearly has jazz esthetics. In passages the piano and violin seem to be making up their own tunes regardless of what the other is playing, but it's masterfully composed so that both instruments compliment each other.

'Sonata "In D" for Violin and Piano' may be a little too avant-garde for lovers of traditional classical music. I'm not usually a fan of pieces like this, but there's just about enough traditional structure to make it listenable. But just as I was starting to tire of it... along came 'Serenity', a heartbreakingly beautiful piece.

'Insistent Music' chops and changes. One minute it's demanding and frenetic, the next it's soft and reflective. It's an interesting listen.

What this collection does, more than anything, is showcase the incredible talents of both musicians. It's certainly an engaging album.

Track listing:

Arthur Gottschalk
01. Sonata for Violin and Piano: I. Grappelli (Fast Waltz) (4:49)
02. Sonata for Violin and Piano: II. Frigo (Lazy Ballad) (5:56)
03. Sonata for Violin and Piano: III. Venuti (Bebop) (7:27)

Karl Blench
04. Sonata "In D" for Violin and Piano: I. Parody (5:11)
05. Sonata "In D" for Violin and Piano: II. Obscenity (5:10)
06. Sonata "In D" for Violin and Piano: III. Serenity (8:04)
07. Sonata "In D" for Violin and Piano: IV. Finality (4:24)

Erberk Eryilmaz
08. Insistent Music (9:29)


Darren Rea

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