Cementing his place as one of the most exciting violinists of his day, Laurent Korcia has delved into the tradition of the great virtuosi for his latest release. The 50-year-old Frenchman takes on Paganini, Kreisler and Ysäye and he comes out well ahead of rivals on points.
The opener is Fritz Kreisler’s transcription of the first movement of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No 1. Even the excellent Chamber Orchestra of Paris can’t disguise the weaknesses in Kreisler’s orchestration which descends into schmaltziness and shows little evidence of his studies with Bruckner. The violin part, however, is pure Paganini and gives Korcia no difficulties.
He is in similar sparkling form with Eugene Ysäye’s gemlike variations on the famous 24th Caprice accompanied by Haruko Ueda on piano. There’s more Kreisler – his transcription of Albéniz’s Malaguena, La Gitana and the impressionistic Petite Valse for Solo Piano, featuring Ueda again – before Paganini’s own variations on Di Tanti Palpiti from Rossini’s Tancredi brings this charming disc to a stirring close.
Articulation, intonation and bowing are faultless; pyrotechnics handled with aplomb and taste – he knows better than to be flashy and vulgar. His ‘Zahn’ Stradivarius sounds stunning thanks to the Naïve production team who recorded the album over two months in Paris in 2013. This disc comes strongly recommended for lovers of the violin.