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<<  -- 2 --  Malcolm Miller    DISTINCTION AND IMAGINATION


Messiaen's Theme and Variations of 1932 predates his most famous works of the following two decades, and displays an intriguing transitional style that still echoes the impressionism of Debussy while exploring new modal and harmonic idioms later to evolve into his more elaborate musical language. Zhislin's interpretation was enthralling, with soulful shading in the lyrical Theme, which returns at the end, and the expansive variation, gaining in intensity in the faster variations, with strident unison textures and Julian Gallant's projection of characteristic luminescent harmonies before the meditative ending. Similar passion ensued in the Franck Sonata to conclude, in which Grigory Zhislin combined detailed inflection of every gesture with a singing tone that soared broadly with ravishing effect. The work's power and poetry came across with fresh intensity, especially the reflective and rhetorically charged third movement, and effulgent finale. Interestingly, Grigory Zhislin's son Uri, the promising violinist, was to perform that sonata the following evening at London's Purcell Room, with pianist Melanie Spanswick. There were two delicious encores, Brahms/Kreisler Hungarian Dance No 17 and Gershwin/Heifetz 'Bess You is my Woman', and the rich glow of Zhislin's Guadagnini and his involving interpretations lingered in the memory long after the concert was over.

Copyright © 3 June 2001 Malcolm Miller, London, UK




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