The Delos label’s new disc of Tchaikovsky’s complete works for violin and piano delivers consistently excellent interpretations of a frequently misunderstood composer. Sasha Rozhdestvensky’s playing has those qualities that seem to come best from Russian violinists: velvety dark lows, lyricism dripping with expression, and virtuosic ease that maintains a raw emotional state. Pianist Josiane Marfurt contributes a crystal clear clarity of voices and sensitivity to each new musical moment. The recording maintains a sense of spontaneity and in-the-moment interaction all too frequently lost in the studio.
The opening track, Sérénade Mélancolique, Op. 26, is convincing proof of the duo’s ability to capture the changing moods Tchaikovsky wrote. In the opening, Rozhdestvensky is able to achieve a dark and despondent tone with an incredible soft touch on the violin. As the music moves to a lighter mood, Rozhdestvensky’s tone changes perfectly to match the music, and the eventual reaches into the upper extremes of the instrument are bursting with exuberance while maintaining a sensitivity to the music. Marfurt matches these changes in tone on the piano, and provides a clear build-up towards the climactic moments, playing with a keen sense of structure as well as attention to each detail.