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04 December 2020
The first-class pairing of Charlie Siem and Itamar Golan release their debut album with Signum; Between the Clouds invites the listener into a Parisian-styled ‘salon’ for an intimate performance of classic pieces for violin and piano.
Featuring pieces by Wieniawski (known for his Gallic elegance and Slavonic fire); the ‘wunderkind’ Godowsky; the Viennese master Friedrich (Fritz) Kreisler; the virtuosic Niccolò Paganini, and the mighty Sir Edward Elgar, this is certainly not one to be missed.
Benjamin Britten is one most important British composers from the second half of the twentieth century. Remarkably, he focused on opera, a dying genre, at least in its current form. Britten's contributions however, among which Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia, Gloriana, The Turn of the Screw, and Death in Venice, managed to remain core repertoire for opera companies to this day. Many of these productions included a role for his artistic partner and life companion Peter Pears. Britten also wrote a number of lieder for this tenor, among which his Serenade for tenor, horn and string orchestra. Yet, Britten excelled in many more genres. He wasn't even 20 years old when he composed his brilliant Phantasy for hobo quartet and his friendship with the legendary cellist Rostropovich led to a Cello sonata, three Suites for cello solo and a Symphony for Cello and orchestra in the 1960s.
Britten never became Master of the Queen's Music, yet he surely had feeling for public sentiments. For example, as a pacifist, he taught his people about world peace through his War Requiem from 1962. Britten was an excellent interpreter of his own work, just like Bartók and Stravinsky. Many of his recordings have been matched, but never exceeded.
Wieniawski was a Polish composer. Even though he came from a jewish family, his father converted to catholocism. Wieniawski's violin talent was quickly discovere, in 1843 he attended the conservatory of Paris at the age of 8. After he graduated, Wieniawski went on tour giving many recitals. He was often accompanied by his brother, Józef. In 1847, he published his first work, the Grand Caprice Fantastique.
On invitation by Anton Rubinstein, Wieniawski moved to St. Petersburg where he stayed until 1872. There, he taught a large number of violin students, led the Russian Musical Society's orchestra and string quartet. Fro, 1872 to 1874, Wieniawski toured throughout the United States together with Rubinstein and in 1875, he replaced Henri Vieuxtemps as a violin teacher at the conservatory of Brussels. In Brussels, his health declined fast, which at one time forced him to stop a performance midway through. He gave his farewell concert in 1879. A year later he died from a heart attack in Moscow.