Here is a collection of charming short pieces from a bygone age. Salon music, if you like. As a style, salon music has declined almost to the point of extinction, so this lovely collection of lightly perfumed compositions for violin and orchestra are a welcome reminder from the pen of one of the last century’s greatest violinists, Fritz Kreisler. Indeed, his attractive and melodious pieces often eclipsed his reputation as a virtuoso, so popular were they in the first half of the last century. Caprice viennois and Schön Rosmarin were typical pops of the day.

Many of the pieces are arrangements. Dvorák’s Slavonic Dance in E Minor and Dance Espagnole by de Falla from his opera La Vida Breve. Gluck’s beautiful Mélodie from Orfeo ed Euridice was loved long before the complete opera gained more popular appeal in the 1960s. The most substantial work on the CD is the Sonata in G Minor by Tartini, arranged here by Kreisler with its famous devil’s trill (which Liebeck throws off brilliantly). Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro, an original work and one of his finest compositions, is also on the list. Compared to the relative frivolity of some of the others, the Praeludium is a serious work. Equally dazzling technically is Recitativo and Scherzo for solo violin – an ideal and dazzling encore. 

Violinist Jack Liebeck captures Kreisler’s style particularly well and Katya Apekisheva accompanies it all perfectly.

Available on the iTunes Store: Kreisler: Violin Music – Jack Liebeck & Katya Apekisheva

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