BLOCH: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2, “Poeme mystique”; Suites Nos. 1 and 2 for Solo Violin; Baal-Shem—3 Pictures of Chassidic Life; Abodah; Nuit exotique; Suite hebraique – Latica Honda-Rosenberg, violin/ Avner Arad, piano – Oehms Classics

by | Nov 5, 2009 | Classical Reissue Reviews | 0 comments

BLOCH: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2, “Poeme mystique”; Suites Nos. 1 and 2 for Solo Violin; Baal-Shem—3 Pictures of Chassidic Life; Abodah; Nuit exotique; Suite hebraique – Latica Honda-Rosenberg, violin/ Avner Arad, piano – Oehms Classics 113 (2 CDs), 119:35 ***** [Distr. by Naxos]:

This is a release of a previously-issued recording from 1999, now offered at a special price and worth every penny. I could find no information in the booklet on Latica Honda-Rosenberg, but a web search brought me to her website where I found this: “Winning the silver medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1998 paved the way for an international career for her. The music magazine ‘The Strad’ wrote at the time: ‘Her assurance and strength of will immediately brought Heifetz to mind. Her musical idiom and her playing are eloquent, expressive, sensitive and variegated, or in short: wonderful, uplifting.’ Born the child of a Croatian cellist and Japanese singer, Latica Honda-Rosenberg grew up in Germany and commenced playing the violin at the age of four. She became a young pupil of Tibor Varga at the Detmold School of Music when she was nine. She continued her training with Zakhar Bron in Madrid at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia and at the Musikhochschule Lübeck. Since 2000 Latica Honda-Rosenberg has been recording exclusively for the Oehms Classics label. Three recordings with works by Bloch, Prokofief (chamber music), Shostakovitsch and Tchaikovsky (solo concertos) are already available. The recordings of chamber music by Ernest Bloch were chosen by ‘The Strad’ as its CD of the Month. Apart from her worldwide activities on the concert platform, since 2003 Latica Honda-Rosenberg has held a professorship for violin at the Musikhochschule Freiburg. She also gives master classes in Germany, Italy (Gustav Mahler Academy), France, Croatia and Portugal. In October 2008 she received a guest professorship at the Berlin University of the Arts.”

I know that’s a lot to digest, but considering her relatively unknown status I thought it important as she displays superb talent and impeccable musicianship on this recording. Bloch’s violin music traversed his entire career, the two sonatas coming from his so-called “second period” while the suites are his last works, as is the Suite hebraique. The sonatas are quite rhapsodic in nature, almost masking their sonata-form origins, especially the deeply personal No. 2. But it is the suites that emerge as the greatest works on this disc, a fusion of Jewish elements with a profound comprehension of baroque sensibilities and techniques, modeled after J.S. Bach’s own. These are fiendishly difficult yet Honda-Rosenberg brings them off with style and her own peculiar sense of hyper-emotion which some might find inappropriate—I don’t.

The Suite Hebraique is likewise well done along with several of the composer’s minor works. These are Bloch’s complete works for the instrument. The recording is vivid and wide ranging, though recorded at a fairly high level. This is a must for Bloch fans, and the general listener will also not go away disappointed.

— Steven Ritter

 

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