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For her third album on Alpha, Patricia Kopatchinskaja is joined by a highly talented pianist whose approach to music is as extremist as hers, Polina Leschenko. Together they explore pieces that have many points in common. The Hungarian violinist Jelly d’Arányi, grandniece of Joseph Joachim, was a "muse" to both Bartók and Ravel. In 1922 and 1923, she premiered the two Bartók sonatas for violin and piano and Ravel dedicated Tzigane to her. He wrote to Bartók: "You have convinced me to compose for our friend, who plays so fluently, a little piece whose diabolical difficulty will bring to life the Hungary of my dreams; and since it will be for violin, why don’t we call it Tzigane?" Of course, Tzigane by Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who has been playing and dancing this music since her childhood in Moldova, does not sound like salon music... After a much-fêted recital at Wigmore Hall in 2017, the Financial Times wrote: "In another life, Patricia Kopatchinskaja might have been a rock star. This is a violinist who loves taking risks . . . But the final reward was worth waiting for: a denouement of astonishing force." Debussy’s Sonata, with its Arab and Javanese influences, completes this voyage, along with a piece for piano solo by Dohnányi, the Valse Coppélia after Léo Delibes, another symbol of the relations between France and Hungary.

CD review – Their Playing Bristles with Energy

The Guardian

Patricia Kopatchinskaja is a violinist whose performances celebrate the act of living in the moment – something hard to capture on disc, but not impossible. Her recent recordings have seen her shaking up Schubert’s Death and the Maiden with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and taking a crowbar to accepted notions of good taste on Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. Nor is there anything ordinary about this latest CD, a recital with the pianist Polina Leschenko that is a feast of edgy, risk-filled music-making.

Leschenko, a protege of Martha Argerich, is Kopatchinskaja’s equal in energy and purpose throughout. They set about Poulenc’s 1943 Sonata with playing that is fierce and furious, but tempering its anger with wit. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always alive – and it’s always going somewhere; this is playing that looks around the corners of the music and is open to what’s coming next. Similarly, Bartók’s 1922 Sonata No 2 bristles with energy but also glows with mercurially changing colour; they never settle for expressing mere harshness or aggression.

In between the sonatas, Leschenko leavens the mood delightfully with Ernst von Dohnányi’s fleet-footed arrangement of the Waltz from Délibes’s ballet Coppélia.

The grand finale is Ravel’s Tzigane: 10 minutes of slow-burn momentum in which the first four are for violin alone. It features some phenomenal, multi-timbred playing by Kopatchinskaja in particular, and is an irresistible sign-off from this free-spirited pair.

Disc of the Month BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE award GRAMOPHONE Editor's Choice award Klara 10 award Presto Classical Recording of the week award Presto Classical recording of the year award Presto Classical recording of the year nominee award

"A feast of edgy, risk-filled music-making."
"They set about Poulenc’s 1943 Sonata with playing that is fierce and furious, but tempering its anger with wit. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always alive..."
The Guardian
"This album is a properly exciting, life affirming box of delights."
Gramophone
"Ravel’s Tzigane is off the scale exciting and improvisatory. Kop conjuring a scarcely unbelievable range of sounds in the opening solo. With the freedom and timbral range of an experimental folk musician plus all the technique of a classical virtuoso” “Immaculate recording as well. I think this is really special."
BBC Radio 3
"This is dispatched with such furious pluckings, squeakings and slitherings that at the end her bow must have been nothing but wisps and tatters. Leschenko is equally fearsome, rippling through notes with dexterous speed. Surfers may recognise the same sensation while riding the crest of a giant wave."
The Times
"A feast of edgy, risk-filled music-making...this is playing that looks around the corners of the music and is open to what’s coming next...Bartók’s 1922 Sonata No 2 bristles with energy but also glows with mercurially changing colour."
The Guardian
"The partnership of Kopatchinskaja and Leschenko excels in these 20th century chamber scores."
MusicWeb International
"Poulenc’s Violin Sonata is taken to its limit with razzle-dazzle playing that is sometimes exaggeratedly fast and furious. … Everything bristles with hard driving and fleeting colours."
Financial Times
"Hand a piece of music to Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the effect is like giving it an electric shock. This young violinist, who has already recorded hair-raising performances of the Ligeti and Tchaikovsky concertos that have taken them to virtuoso extremes"
Financial Times, 9 March 2018
"You’d expect nothing less than explosive creativity from the word go from the ultra-exuberant Moldovan firebrand violinist Patrcia Kopatchinskaja; nor is that expectation denied in her new duo release with pianist Polina Leschenko, an equal in virtuosity and charisma"
The Scotsman, March 2018
"Patricia Kopatchinskaja is a violinist whose performances celebrate the act of living in the moment...Nor is there anything ordinary about this latest CD, a recital with the pianist Polina Leschenko that is a feast of edgy, risk-filled music making."
The Guardian, March 2018