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

PROFESSOR BRYAN SYKES INTERVIEWED (2003): Genetics in the headlines

PROFESSOR BRYAN SYKES INTERVIEWED (2003): Genetics in the headlines

Academics are a pretty sniffy bunch sometimes, says Bryan Sykes. Which would be an amusing observation if this professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford was laughing. But his... > Read more

IAIN MACMILLAN PHOTOGRAPHER, CREATING AN ICONIC ALBUM COVER (2019): Four for the road

IAIN MACMILLAN PHOTOGRAPHER, CREATING AN ICONIC ALBUM COVER (2019): Four for the road

As most Beatle fans know, the group debated for weeks over what their final studio album should be called. Among the titles thrown around were All Good Children Go To Heaven and Four in The Bar.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

HISTORY ACTUALLY REPEATS (2014): Rare, lost or out-of-print New Zealand music gets a second coming

HISTORY ACTUALLY REPEATS (2014): Rare, lost or out-of-print New Zealand music gets a second coming

This week I was invited to a function in Auckland hosted by recordedmusic.co.nz. The event -- at which Shona Laing and John Hanlon performed -- was entitled Tied to the Tracks, named after a... > Read more

John Mayall: Blues From Laurel Canyon (1968)

John Mayall: Blues From Laurel Canyon (1968)

In the wake of '67s Sgt Pepper's the new thing in rock was "the concept album" and at the tail-end of that decade and well into the 70s a long list of bands weighed in: the Pretty Things... > Read more