The Strad Issue: January 2010
Musicians: Liza Ferschtman (violin)
Composer: Bach, Ysaÿe

The programming of this disc is impeccable. Ysaÿe’s solo sonatas are consciously first cousins to Bach’s sonatas and partitas, and in these particular works, with G minor Ysaÿe drawing from Bach in the same key, and his A minor Sonata worrying away at the first movement of Bach’s last partita, there is a particular temptation to compare and contrast. Ferschtman brings to both composers appropriate degrees of coolness, passion and control, and a mastery of technique that can render the severest of demands subservient to musical logic and taste.

There is a sureness of pulse beneath everything she plays. In the expansiveness of Bach’s opening G minor Adagio and the Loure of his E major Partita there is space and time, but always a gentle, unwavering forward motion; when Bach is rapid, there is energy, clarity, and supple phrasing. Ferschtman’s counterpoint, as in the Fuga and Siciliana of the G minor Sonata, is masterly. Ysaÿe is treated with with a blend of muscularity and tenderness. She does drama well, filling a phrase with heat and then turning it to something delicate with a perfectly judged rubato, a subtle adjustment of dynamic. The recorded sound is close and resonant.

Tim Homfray