Leonidas Kavakos’ New “Virtuoso” Album

Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos’ newest album, Virtuoso, was released on the Decca Classics label on April 1. It’s a fascinating collection of short violin showpieces. Some are well known favorites: Sarasate’s Caprice Basque, Op.24  and Romanza andaluza, Op. 22, No.1Paganini’s Introduction And Variations On “Nel Cor Piu Non Mi Sento” and Variations on God Save the King. But there are also some fascinating surprises.

One of the recording’s seldom-heard gems is the haunting Reveille, a piece written in 1937 by a 24-year-old Benjamin Britten and published posthumously in 1982. It’s music which gradually awakens, with the violin’s increasingly bold voice singing over a trance-like repeating piano line. At moments, we hear hints of the early morning bugle calls suggested by the title.

Kavakos includes Joseph Szigeti’s transcription of The Miller’s Dance from Manuel de Falla’s ballet score, The Three Cornered Hat. You can see the complete ballet, with all of its spicy Spanish rhythms and colorful orchestration, in this clip from the 2013 BBC Proms.

Here is Stravinsky’s folk-inspired Chanson Russe, built above a bass line which is delightfully persistent in its hypnotic irregularity:

Kavakos plays the Abergavenny Stradivarius of 1724 on this album. He is accompanied by pianist Enrico Pace. Richmond Public Radio’s Mike Goldberg recently talked with Leonidas Kavakos about the Virtuoso album.

Recordings

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

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