The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: A free-spirited traversal of repertoire bound together by geography
Musicians: Alda Dizdari (violin) Tom Blach (piano)
Composer: Janácek, Bartók, Enescu, Pärt, Brahms (transcr. Joachim)

Alda Dizdari has made quite a musical journey of her own, from her native Albania to Romania, where she discovered the music of Enescu, to the United States and finally to London, where she gave this concert at the Wigmore Hall last year. She writes in her booklet notes that the violin in Enescu, Bartók and Janácek is a human voice, and she plays accordingly, with freedom and depth of expression, found in her constant rubato and big vibrato. Sometimes that vibrato seems a bit too big, but it certainly helps to generate passionate intensity.

Janácek’s Sonata has great and unsettling emotional breadth, and the fugue from Bartók’s solo violin Sonata is a gritty, uncompromising tour de force. Whole sections of Enescu’s extraordinary Third Sonata sound as if she is improvising them as she goes along, invoking some wild gypsy spirit, particularly in the wailing central Andante sostenuto and misterioso. Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel, basically 100-odd bars of dotted semibreves, seems even more ascetic than usual after such rich fare, although the fat vibrato remains. With Enescu still in the ears, Brahms’s Hungarian Dances sound a little ersatz, but she plays them with great pizzazz. There are a few fluffs along the way, and intonation is a bit approximate sometimes, but this is a persuasive and open-hearted recital in the generous Wigmore acoustic.