CD: Elgar: Violin Sonata Op 82; Grieg: Violin Sonata Op 45 No 3; etc

(Challenge Classics)

The glossy promotional presentation and the admiring tone of the sleeve notes for his debut disc really do British violinist Charlie Siem no favours at all. You half expect to hear that he's sat on his Stradivarius or left it on a bus just for the sake of a few tabloid headlines, but these performances show that his music-making is more than capable of speaking for itself without any kind of special pleading. Siem compares and contrasts two big-boned, late-Romantic violin sonatas, and manages to focus unerringly on the musical core of each. His Elgar sonata is by turns confidential and quick-witted, perfectly shaded and full of sweet-sour regrets; the Grieg, a less personal more public piece, receives a more outward-going performance of such authority that one wishes Siem and his equally accomplished pianist, Andrei Korobeinikov, had included another of the works from the Op 45 set rather than the selection of salon pieces by Elgar and Grieg with which they complete the disc.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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