Glorious, wide-ranging recital of 20th-century violin miniatures

Elena Urioste: From Brighton to Brooklyn


The Strad Issue: March 2022

Description: Glorious, wide-ranging recital of 20th-century violin miniatures

Musicians: Elena Urioste (violin) Tom Poster (piano)

Works: Music by Beach, Bridge, Britten, Coleridge-Taylor, Copland, Price and Schoenfeld

Catalogue number: CHANDOS CHAN 20248

The prevailing tendency for stylistically wide-ranging recitals is to zone into an interpretative centre ground, with everything submitted to the same default expressive rhetoric. Enter Elena Urioste and Tom Poster, who explore each composer’s expressive world as if in celebration of its creative uniqueness. Take Paul Schoenfeld’s Four Souvenirs, whose slightly left-field terms of reference – a samba, tango, tin pan alley and square dance – are relished with a natural feeling for the idiom. They are also notoriously tricky to play, yet Urioste sounds so spellbound by Schoenfeld’s playful immersion in popular dance genres that one barely notices her Heifetz-like precision, command and sound world.

Turn the expressive coin over for Bridge’s Cradle Song, Heart’s Ease and Romanze, and that same musical intensity becomes transmuted into a searchingly poetic introspection that captures the elusive mood of each piece. How delightful to hear Florence Price’s Elfentanz played with such gentle persuasiveness, and the haunting, veiled quality of Copland’s Nocturne imbued with an unmistakably twilight smokiness and sense of lonely isolation.

The recital’s emotional centrepiece is Coleridge-Taylor’s op.73 Ballade, which is relished with a keen sensitivity to the music’s various mood changes. Captivating performances of Amy Beach’s op.40 Compositions and three pieces from Britten’s op.6 Suite set the seal on one of the finest recital of violin miniatures since Itzhak Perlman’s 1970s heyday.