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Patricia Kopatchinskaja & Camerata Bern - Plaisirs illuminés - All Music

4.5*

The unifying factor in this collection of 20th century pieces is that they have connections to the music of Bartók. Several of the composers are also connected to each other, and two works were commissioned by the Camerata Bern. One of these, remarkably, was the Musica concertante per 12 archi of Sándor Veress, who was a student of Bartók and a teacher to Ligeti and Kurtág, who also appear on the program; the works were commissioned in the 1960s when the Camerata Bern was new. Many listeners will want the album for this missing link aspect. Veress is much less well known than his teacher or his followers, but his concertante string work introduces the album ideally with its rigorous but expressive lines, and it's well worth hearing. Alberto Ginastera's music came out of Latin American traditions, but he was a follower of Bartók nonetheless, and the Concerto per corde, Op. 33, came from the period of his career where nationalistic impulses were refined into a more general modern language. Also represented is the next generation, in the person of Camerata Bern conductor Francisco Coll, who contributes not only a Double concerto for violin, cello, and string orchestra but a delightful nonsense song called LalulaLied, sung and played by violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja with violinist Suyeon Kang and double bassist Käthi Steuri. The Camerata Bern is a well-oiled machine that brings to this music the precision it requires, and Kopatchinskaja is always a pleasure. The whole group relaxes at the end with a little improvisation evoking birds that may be unlike anything else on recordings. The Zürich Radio studio sound is superb, and throughout, there is a fine level of musical intelligence and tension at work here.

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All Music
19 March 2021