“Soaring Solo – Unaccompanied Works II” – Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio, violin & viola – MSR Classics

Don’t think twice about getting this wonderful recital.

“Soaring Solo – Unaccompanied Works II” – Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio, violin & viola – MSR Classics MS 1627, 73:32 [Distr. by Albany] *****:

This is Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio’s second solo disc, the first called “Going Solo” following this same sort of format. Here, the artist says “Soaring effortlessly high above the clouds. That is the sensation I enjoy when I am in the perfect performance zone. It is a feeling of tremendous freedom and peace. As if I am weightless, I am soaring on air currents looking passively down on the tumultuous world below as the music flows past my ears. When I decided to record a second CD of solo pieces for violin and viola, Soaring Solo was the title that came ‘out of the blue’ and drifted into my consciousness.”

Interesting, and no doubt pertinent to this fine violinist/ violist when selecting this program, but I am not sure how much it matters to the listener or our appreciation of the music. What is important is the wonderful technical acumen she brings to each piece on this recital regardless of instrument played, and the superb tonal qualities she manages on each. The program itself, just by glancing at it, seems a little incongruous and intimidating, as these sorts of “solo” discs often are. But I must admit that listening through from start to finish was not only not a chore, but an absolute delight. Indeed, the program as stated transitioned so beautifully from one piece to the other that one could almost, if one did not know better, think that all these composers were somehow in a kind of dramatic collusion! I can only attribute this to the shrewdness of Sant’Ambrogio’s programming perceptiveness, a talent all too rare these days.

An exceptionally worthy release!

TrackList:

GRAŻYNA BACEWICZ: Kaprys Polski (Polish Caprice); ERNST TOCH: Three Impromptus; ALESSANDRO ROLLA: Capriccio No. 1 in F; TELEMANN: Fantasie No. 10 in D; BIBER: Passacaglia in g; URSULA MAMLOK: From my Garden; HOVHANESS; Chahagir; FAZIL SAY: Cleopatra; KENJI BUNCH: Sarabande; MIGUEL DEL ÁGUILA: Cortando limones (Cutting Limes); PAUL HINDEMITH: Sonate Op. 31, No. 2; SCHNITTKE: Fuga

—Steven Ritter

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