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... Threads of sound, fine as gossamer but strong as steel ­ this is the overall impression of the third CD released by the duo :nota bene:. ":nota bene: Volume 3" begins with Krysztof Penderecki's "Miniatury" for violin and piano (1959). These three minute-long pieces provide a kind of theme and basic mood for the recording: highly concentrated music in the "smallest space", with an intense quality of sound and colour.
Although Ludwig Nussbichler's "Traumbildfragmente III" for violin and piano (2003) is marked "maestoso, molto ritmico" and introduced by several emphatic chords on the piano, within a few bars the piece begins to float. Alexander Vavtar seems to shape every note before it sounds, unfolding a wealth of harmonics occasionally reminiscent of a prepared piano. Out of this meticulously cultivated ground Eva Steinschaden draws forth the violin part, smooth in both sound and phrasing. It is thrilling and enlightening to hear such merging of violin and piano, especially ­ though not only ­ in some of the finely-structured emotive unison passages.
This almost amalgam-like fusion of sound also characterises the other "miniatures", such as Klemens Vereno's "Five Haikus" (2003), a work commissioned by :nota bene:.
It is not only the musical and technical qualities that constitute the great appeal of this CD, but also the dramaturgy of the choice of works. In this context, and in this unembellished rendering, Cesar Bresgen's Romanian Suite "For Eleonore" (1956) ­ a work traditional in form and sound ­ seems drawn in the direction of modernism.
György Kurtág's "Tre pezzi" for violin and piano (1979) are ­ like any Kurtág work ­ concise renderings of the essence of stories or spiritual landscapes. In the third piece, for instance ­ "very soft, extremely slow" ­ the duo leads the listener on a two-minute walk through infinity. With Witold Lutoslawski's "Subito", the atmosphere "suddenly" comes alive again.
This CD offers 45.58 minutes of "cerebral" music, inviting the listener to dream.
(DrehPunktKultur - Salzburg's Internet arts page/Austria, November 2004)


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