Composers: Vladigerov, Poulenc, Seabourne
Compositions: Violin sonatas
Performers: Irina Borissova v, Giacomo Battarino p
Catalogue Number: Sheva Contemporary SH226

The arresting tone of Bulgarian violinist Irina Borissova is well-suited to the unusual selection of works on this recording. All use different techniques to convey high levels of tension and drama. This is particularly true of the opening Violin Sonata, Op. 1, by fellow Bulgarian Pancho Vladigerov, written in 1914 at a mere 15 years of age. Spikey and a little overwrought with a lovely lyrical Andante, this deeply Romantic sonata is an extraordinary achievement.

Poulenc’s sole Violin Sonata dates from the 1940s and is a tribute to Federico García Lorca. The violin part had significant input from French virtuoso Ginette Neveu, who premiered the work before her tragic death in a plane crash in 1949. Dramatic and turbulent, flamenco overtones are present in stamping rhythms and guitar-like pizzicato flourishes, with fine interplay from pianist Giacomo Battarino.

English composer Peter Seabourne (b.1960) used Chopin’s disastrous 1838 Majorcan sojourn with George Sand (during which he was diagnosed with tuberculosis) as a starting point for A Portrait and Four Nocturnes. These are hallucinatory, spectral presences that combine darkly Romantic tonalities with extended techniques in a particularly effective and hypnotic manner.

The recording is crisp and earthy, the performances delicate and nuanced. A fine recording of three underrepresented works.