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Robert Maxham
Fanfare, May 2012

Finnish violinist Petteri Iivonen and Canadian pianist Kevin Fitz-Gerald recorded their sonata recital in Alfred Newman Hall in Los Angeles with what producer Bob Attiyeh describes in the booklet as a minimum of electronics between the performance and the listener. Iivonen plays a Ferdinando Gagliano violin from 1767.

The program opens with one of the two works for solo violin: Johann Sebastian Bach’s First Sonata. The close and clean recorded sound reveals the alertness of Iivonen’s trills in the first movement as well as the combination of richness and strength of the tone he draws from his violin and the subtlety of his dynamic shadings. Iivonen invests the Fuga with a rhythmic springiness and flexibility that makes it sound fresh despite its familiarity.

The opening of César Franck’s Sonata displays the sumptuousness of Iivonen’s manner, while Fitz-Gerald sounds more sensitive and reflective than a mere accompanist might. He plays with rhythms and tempos as skillfully as does many a violinist in the work, and the duo achieves stunningly effective climaxes. As in the first movement, they soar very high in climactic moments. Still, some of the quieter moments, played very simply, seem even more impressive.

David S. Lefkowitz’s…Miniature No. 8 provides an interlude before Johannes Brahms’s Third Sonata. Brahms’s sonata may sound deliberate at its opening, but it provides all the power that the work can bear. Yet the movement never loses its glow…the finale is turbocharged.

With power to spare and an ingratiating subtlety, Yarlung’s performances present a young duo with a great deal of promise. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

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3:41:48 PM, 1 November 2014
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