ARTEK Recordings

Reviews of CD 26

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Yulian Sitkovetsky - Violin - Bach Mozart Tartini Kreisler Paganini

ARTEK RECORDINGS CD26: The Art of Yulian Sitkovetsky Vol I. - Violin 


This is the first of three issues featuring Russian violinist Yulian Sitkovetsky to have come out in the past three months, all from the Artek label. As you probably know, Yulian Sitkovetsky was a violinist who had a meteoric rise in post-WWII Russia. In 1945 the 'All Soviet Union Young Performers Competition' for piano, cello and violin took place in Moscow. The three winners were Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich and Yulian Sitkovetsky. His career took off in Russia and its satellites, but he contracted lung cancer and died in 1958, not quite 33 years old. He was part of an incredibly talented family. His father, and first teacher, was violinist Grigoriy Sitkovetsky. His wife was pianist Bella Davidovich, his son the violinist/conductor Dmitry Sitkovetsky (barely five years old when his father died), niece pianist Olga Sitkovetsky, great-nephew violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky.

His playing is notable for its immaculate intonation, sweetness and ability to project as well as for its innate musicality. Just listen here to the Chaconne from the Bach Partita No. 2, a summa for all violinists. It is gloriously musical with ease of technique, forward motion, impeccable legato and no noticeable mannerisms. One is reminded of the playing of Leonid Kogan or Nathan Milstein. Equally impressive is his collaboration with his wife, Bella Davidovich, in the Mozart Sonata in B Flat, KWV 378 (317d). The trills in Tartini's 'Devil's Trill' sonata are incredibly fast, but the concluding trills in Paganini's 'La Campanella' are even more so. I hesitate to use the word 'incredible' but here it is appropriate -- my jaw literally dropped.

The sound in this recording from the 1950s is really quite good. It is mono, of course, but that hardly matters. This is a CD for violin fanciers -- and for violin students, who out of desperation may wind up giving up their instrument for the accordion.

-J Scott Morrison

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