The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: A selection of some of Kreisler’s many lollipops lacks something of the master himself
Musicians: Frédéric Laroque (violin) Ryoko Hisayama (piano)
Composer: Kreisler

‘Kreisleriana’ has for some time occupied a neglected position among serious artists. Conversely, Kreisler’s reputation as a violinist has become rather better regarded of late, as part of the continuing studies into changes in 20th-century string performing practices – especially as regards ‘continuous vibrato’. This disc, respectfully if unctuously dedicated to Kreisler himself, provides us with a varied slice of his compositions – some very well-known, others rather more neglected (such as the jazz-influenced Syncopation).

Frédéric Laroque and Ryoka Hisayama are convincing exponents of this often humorous music. Standard Kreisler fare such as Liebesfreud are played with confidence and panache, although some items seem a little stiff – such as his arrangement of Falla’s Danse espagnole, which needs more of a sense of abandonment. The opening Boccherini pastiche gets things off to a good start, with a suitably skittish élan, while the Study on a Chorale after Stamitz finishes the disc with some tidy double-stopping. Laroque is agile and full of fun in his playing, although tone is perhaps a little tight, not aided by a rather too closely miked recording, and Hisayama’s accompanying is disciplined. But the whole enterprise lacks something of Kreisler’s generosity of spirit.

David Milsom