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Bach & Paganini

Hera "Portraits of Important Instrumentalists"

Ciaconna BWV 1004 (three performances)
Adagio und Fuge BWV 1005
Paganini: 12 of the 24 Capricci

Vidor Nagy, Viola

HERA 02202 (2 DVD Video)[1hr 48 mins]

This is an extraordinary, and extraordinarily rewarding, DVD release.

Vidor Nagy (b.1942), principal violist of Staatorchester Stuttgart, is a great violist who, as chamber music player, has already been featured by Musical Pointers [q.v. Viola trios].

Uniquely, he gives three consecutive, unedited accounts of the great Bach chaconne, which sounds great on the mellow viola.* Following them with the score up on line (not being a string player, I don't own it) I found quite addictive.

Nagy tried to convey his different feelings, which are elaborated in the liner notes, into "3 different interpretations of the Bach Ciaconna, played within one afternoon" - see text below*.

All three "takes" are impeccable, and they are filmed with notable discretion in a Hungarian village church.

Paganini has attracted new interest recently, with the projects of Peter Sheppard Skaerved and the Wihan Quartet recording W. Zinn's arrangement of them for string quartet. As with the Bach, some may actually prefer the sound of Paganini on Nagy's violas; he plays two different instruments for this production: DVD 1 (Bach) Giuseppe Antonio Artalli (Milano, 2nd half of 18th century) & DVD 2 (Paganini) Georges Mougenot (Mirecourt/1843-1937).

I hope to have specialist contributions as additions to this introduction, but meanwhile do make every effort to acquire these special DVDs.**

Peter Grahame Woolf

* - - the Chaconne and the Fugue in C major - - is played on the viola, which alters nothing basically about the relevant problems, and the Chaconne exists in three versions. "If one occupies himself with things in the course of a lifetime, everything changes constantly." - - Differences in the versions justify listening to all three. On the one hand the soloist seems to follow the principle of energy and devotes himself to the force that circulates throughout the work. Chords are presented with an organ character and form the framework on which the lines unfold. On the other hand he concentrates on these lines and emphasizes the melodic elements which represent the true inventiveness of the work. Finally he arrives at a synthesis of the two approaches, in the course of which additionally the internal structures of the piece are elaborated and the work as a whole formally structured and presented [from notes by Ulrich Drüner].

** see www.classicdisc.de or try mail@editionhera.de