The Strad Issue: March 2018
Description: Captivating tribute to the great violin virtuosos
Musicians: Vilde Frang (violin) José Gallardo (piano)
Works: Music by Albéniz, Bazzini, Debussy, Dvořák, Gluck, Kreisler, Mendelssohn, Poldowski, Ponce, Prokofiev, Ries, Schubert, Schumann, Scriabin and Wieniawski
Catalogue Number: WARNER CLASSICS 9029580532
Among violinists of the younger generation who I have heard both in concert and on record, Vilde Frang strikes me as the most original. She has both tonal and musical imagination and can actually persuade me to hear Korngold’s Concerto without feeling ill. I can conceive some may feel that she occasionally goes too far in this tribute to the art of the encore piece. But surely no one could possibly hear her exquisite performance of the E minor op.46 no.2 Dvořák–Kreisler Slavonic Dance without being captivated by it.
In five arrangements by Kreisler and three by Heifetz, she makes no attempt to ape either of them, but does her own thing. To this end she is ably supported by pianist José Gallardo, who contributes ideas of his own and does not deserve to have his name consistently printed in smaller type.
Her Gluck Mélodie is cool as a Nordic stream. On her 1864 Vuillaume instrument she throws off Ries’s La capricciosa delightfully, plays Wieniawski’s ‘Obertass’ Mazurka with élan and irresistible rhythm and his E flat major Caprice with delicate staccato. She hurls herself at Poldowski’s Tango, brings lovely portamento to the Scriabin–Szigeti Etude op.8 no.10 and generally has fun. The recorded sound is excellent but there is room for five or six more pieces.