Bella Hristova and Michael Houstoun: Beethoven; The Violin Sonatas (Rattle)

 |   |  1 min read

Adagio Espressivo
Bella Hristova and Michael Houstoun: Beethoven; The Violin Sonatas (Rattle)

Sometimes just because we can, Elsewhere makes a courageous leap into the world of contemporary classical music because – in part – that is where we grew up; La Monte Young, Reich, Glass, Nyman et al.

But The Serious Old Big Stuff – like Beethoven's violin sonatas, which we have sometimes/occasionally heard and enjoyed in small doses – we leave to the experts.

And in this instance, for this beautifully packaged, informatively presented four-CD set – by The Enormously Acclaimed young violinist (Hristova) and senior statesman pianist (Sir Michael, he of this magisterial, internationally acclaimed and quite astonishing project) – we step aside to only note it is . . .

To these un-schooled ears, breathtaking in its scope . . .

It runs from fun (Rondo on disc, the first) to funereal: the lachrymose and downbeat opening passages of disc four where it seems we should – quite rightly – dance in the face of death.

If that seems shallow (and of course, it is) then in our defense – because we think might have read this astonishing arc in some small part correctly – we would just say: And “the people have spoken”.

Those “people” being classical world listeners who have shoved this collection – a whopping four CD set by a violin/piano duet, we remind you – immediately into the RNZ/Radio New Zealand chart in just the second week after its release.

So serious music comes in behind the populist Sol3 Mio album?

Sorta like Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever being kept off the top spot by Englebert Humperdinck's Release Me . . . if you will.

Crikey dick, I make shallow (but methinks, appropriate) cultural references.

You can find this extraordinary release at Rattle Records here (but the physical set is the way to go, downloads are soulless and have no tactile sensibility).

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Cultural articles index

JONATHAN JONES INTERVIEWED (2010): Illuminating the past and present, the beyond and between

JONATHAN JONES INTERVIEWED (2010): Illuminating the past and present, the beyond and between

Bathed in the light from his wall-filling sculpture of fluorescent tubes, the Australian artist Jonathan Jones tells an insightful story. When Governor Arthur Phillip was establishing Sydney in... > Read more

THE BUILDING BLOCK OF CIVILIZATION (2005): Thoughts From Elsewhere

THE BUILDING BLOCK OF CIVILIZATION (2005): Thoughts From Elsewhere

Evening in Barcelona in a small cafe near the old Cathedral. I have spent the afternoon underground and now, over rich red wine and tapas, my thoughts have turned to the humble brick. Today I have... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER PATRICK SMITH tells of surviving the shits in far flung parts

GUEST WRITER PATRICK SMITH tells of surviving the shits in far flung parts

It’s not until you’ve lain miserably ill in some far-off outpost of underdevelopment that you really appreciate Western standards of healthcare and hygiene. Lying in a fleabag... > Read more

Aquaserge: Deja-Vous? (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Aquaserge: Deja-Vous? (Crammed Discs/Southbound)

Here's one to have you racing to a web search because this French outfit can hardly be called a household name, although it seems they've been around for a decade, played in 10 countries, have won... > Read more