, May 2012
Alissa and Jura Margulis, violinist and pianist, brother and sister, have assembled a chronological program of works for violin and piano…by Franz Liszt…Their program opens with the Duo Sonata, which Liszt based on Frédéric Chopin’s Mazurka, op. 6/2. Brother Jura’s notes suggest that the sonata appears in its original form, having been left in manuscript during the composer’s lifetime; it offers brilliantly virtuosic passages for pianistic display…[Alissa’s] 1754 Guadagnini…seems to possess deep tonal richness, especially in its lower registers…she strongly characterizes the fourth movement’s strutting rhythms and concludes in an impressive blaze of glory.
The notes identify the Grand Duo Concertant as deriving from Le Marin, written by violinist Charles Philippe Lafont, and this work pairs the two instruments more equally…Jura and Alissa prove a very harmonious duo…
The Petrarch Sonnet appears in a version by Jura, who in his notes claims to have drawn upon Liszt’s versions as a song and as two piano pieces. Jura chews on the theme by himself before Alissa enters, sounding particularly nuanced and expressive and soaring into the higher register with thrilling tonal command…Together, they bring the work to a conclusion of nearly transcendental repose. The…Hungarian Rhapsody consists of an arrangement of The Three Gypsies for violin and piano by the Hungarian violinist and composer Jenő Hubay…Alissa acquits herself for the most part creditably…The two shorter pieces, Epithalam and Romance oubliée, the first a wedding present for violinist Eduard Reményi, strike a more overtly melodic posture. The first comprises a bolder statement in its middle section, while the second remains relatively sinuous from its beginning to its end. Jura refers to La Lugubre Gondola, written during the year before the composer’s death, as exploring almost unknown harmonic territory…The duo revels in the work’s elusive expressivity.
For those interested in the composer’s œuvre, the duo’s chronological presentation should provide insight into Liszt’s development, as well as into 19th-century traditions in transcription. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare