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Since Ruggiero Ricci first recorded Ysaÿe’s complete solo violin sonatas, there has been a plethora of excellent versions, among them Ibragimova, Shumsky, Mordkovich, and Graffin. Tarara deserves a place at their table.

There is a terrific presence to this SACD recording, perfectly complementing Tarara’s confidence in the opening gestures of the first sonata. Tarara’s way with stopping, so vital in this music, is exemplary. He also gives the music space where required.

The most famous movement of these works is probably the first movement, ‘Obsession,’ of the second sonata, with its pronounced use of the ‘Dies irae’, superbly impactful here. The Romanian tinge to the third (a single-movement ‘Ballade’) is well done, as are the held- breath moments of the fourth; pizzicati fall like hailstones in the sixth.

Tarara plays on a Stradivarius (Cremona, 1721) that was, aptly, formerly owned by Kreisler (dedicatee of the fourth sonata). Performed with excellent intonation throughout, this is a most recommendable disc.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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