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MIRROR IMAGES Vicci

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Violeta Vicci, violin; viola; voice AldilĂ  Records (2020) «« « « ‘Mirror Images’ is a mesmerising collection of short works for violin, viola, and voice. A tonic for our times, it comprises truly exceptional performances by Spanish-Swiss performer Violeta Vicci . The album opens with Söderlind’s ‘Elegia II’. Sonorous, melancholy, and graceful, it seems familiar-yet-new. A carefully measured violin recording executed with engaging dynamic contrast. ‘Improvisation I’ is the first of Vicci’s imaginative and personal statements. These intersperse the selection. ‘Improvisation II’ combines ancient and modern dance elements, its gentle cadences strumming like a guitar. ‘Improvisation III’ is wistful, exquisite, whilst ‘Improvisation IV’ draws upon traditional idioms as if an unhinged sea shanty. ‘Improvisation V’ features Vicci’s fluid soprano, echoing the resonance of a bowed string. ‘Improvisation VI’ brings vocal and instrument together, the string seeming to reference a hurdy-gurdy. Bach

REFLECTIONS Kapustin/Jagers

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Sarah Kapustin, violin; Roeland Jagers, viola Navis Classics (2020) «««« ‘Reflections’ is a new release from Navis Classics featuring Sarah Kapustin on violin and Roeland Jagers on viola. The duo present a clean yet breathy tone. You often hear the performer’s breath (performers’ breaths) in the exquisite ‘live’ studio production. The phrasing is dynamic and forceful but not forced. It is at the edge of a natural and easy sense of both timbre and rhythm. The collection opens with a series of short and intriguing canons by Josquin des Prez. In order, these form a satisfying narrative. The semi-dissonant cadences resolve with a legitimate melancholy befitting these extraordinary times. It seems to disperse into the resonant and electrifying Martinu ‘Duo’. Like off-kilter Vivaldi, brief, beautiful, but brilliant. ‘Allegro’ and its bookend are stirring and fiery. And, in between, the variant phrases of ‘Lento’ reflect upon the route travelled. A pair of Bach canons arranged by Forbes embo