In Mr. Turku’s audio debut he has certainly impressed me with the care and meticulous urgency he brings to his chosen repertory. Mr. Turku plays a gorgeously-toned Januarius Gagliano violin, and he adeptly blends his colors with Ms. Chernyavska’s piano. Turka likes the lush, passionate phrase and creamy vibrato, perhaps a legacy of his meetings with Ida Haendel. Yet he keeps the scale of the Brahms A Major Sonata, for example, within decidedly intimate bounds, taking the composer’s indication of “amabile” quite literally to transform the entire work into a sustained tryst. Because there are frequent quotations from Brahms’ own lieder, the songfulness of the piece is ripe for Turku’s exploitation of his cantilena. The warmth of the playing counters the often cool distillation of music we hear in the CD medium.
The Schumann A Minor Sonata, with its demand for passionate expression, seems tailored to Turku’s temperament. The application of the violin’s G string over a throbbing, surging piano part keeps the emotional tempest in high gear. The sonic separation in the recording, courtesy John Barnes, asserts itself more fully than in the Brahms. Big gestures, a redolent fever in the typically repeated phraseology of late Schumann, mark Turku’s studied approach. The piano declamations are no less intense. The little Allegretto takes a page or two from Beethoven sonatas in F Major and G Major, telescoping the relaxed sentiment of a slow movement with moments of scherzando. At several points, Turku’s romantic ethos in this music reminds me of master violinist Szymon Goldberg. The last movement reverts to Schumann’s more convulsive style, with sudden stops and starts, blazing 16ths in the keyboard, then militant outbursts. More than once we can hear filigree from the Scherzo of the C Major Symphony. Deft ensemble, especially to coordinate lightning syncopations, releases the bravura as well as poetic impulses in Schumann, a most convincing interpretation.
Take out the incense for Turku’s powdered realization of the Franck Sonata; even after the great studies of this piece by Kogan, Heifetz, and Oistrakh, Turku’s collaboration with the sultry piano of Ms. Chernyavska ranks high. The piano part uses generous pedal to smear the lines just enough to evoke a modal, nebulous character upon the smoldering passions which suddenly flare up in the second movement Allegro. The Fantasia wends its sensuous, luxurious way to Tristan und Isolde. Excellent piano midrange fidelity in this movement. The closing canon repeats much of the musical material in prior movements, once again breaking out in passionate utterance in the closing pages, a fiery close to an often torrid, compelling recital by a gifted pair of artists. [Another location to acquire this disc is through ArkivMusic.com]