Max Frank Music MFM 003

The Strad Issue: January 2013
Description: A well-blended recital from a refined Canadian violinist
Musicians: Jasper Wood (violin) David Riley (piano)
Composer: Mozart, Debussy, Strauss

Mozart’s refined sound worlds demand absolutely clarity of technique and purity of sound, combined with interpretative warmth, nobilmente elegance and cantabile poise without the slightest hint of self-consciousness. Hats off then to Jasper Wood, who not only possesses a tonally refined sound ideal for Mozart, but also a Szeryng-like ability to inflect phrases subtly with an exquisite range of vibrato and bow strokes while retaining absolute intonational security. With David Riley providing exemplary support, enhanced by a luminescent ambience, this is inspired music-making that provides the greatest pleasure simply because of the sound it makes.

No less responsive and treasurable is a reading of the Debussy Sonata that avoids any hint of concert hall projection, drawing the listener into a world of confidential, whispered correspondences and magically half-lit gestures. Every note rings true, suggesting a composer tantalisingly on the verge of fresh musical discoveries.

On the face of it the Strauss is a very different kind of work, a grand virtuoso statement often played to the gallery for maximum impact. Yet when given time, as here, to unwind and expand naturally with the emphasis on magical texturing and lyrical exultancy, its emotional impact is considerably enhanced. An outstanding recital, warmly recommended.