Misha Keylin Revists Vieuxtemps
Violinist Keylin sails through the four dazzling showpieces on this new CD
Henry Vieuxtemps (1820–81), one of the greatest violin virtuosos of all time, started his career as a prodigy, making his Paris debut at age nine. His Vienna performance of Beethoven’s Concerto, at age 14, earned high praise from Robert Schumann. Two years later, Vieuxtemps began to tour Europe, Russia, and America, playing concerts almost daily for four decades. Like many virtuosos, he wrote prolifically for his instrument, producing seven concertos and many shorter pieces, some written specially for America, such as the last one on this record.
In 1873, a stroke robbed him of the use of his right arm, but he continued to teach and compose until his fourth stroke—and perhaps a lifetime of overwork—caused his untimely death.
Vieuxtemps’ compositions, including those featured on this new recording from 40-year-old violinist Misha Keylin, alternate brilliant bravura passages with lyrical melodies, like those of earlier violinist/composers, but their orchestrations are richer and more colorful.
The four dazzling showpieces on this disc exploit every instrumental resource and demand utmost virtuosity, a quality that Keylin has in abundance.
Winner of numerous international competitions, the Russian-born and US-raised violinist is a former student of Juilliard grand dame Dorothy DeLay.
He already has recorded Vieuxtemps’ complete violin concertos (seven in number) on a critically acclaimed and commercially successful 1999 three-CD set for the Naxos label. He surmounts the technical hurdles of the works recorded here with incredible ease—his facility is unlimited, his intonation flawless.
The melodies sing and soar.
Though its intensity never changes, his tone is beautiful, even in the topmost stratosphere.
He plays the second piece on a famous Stradivari, instead of his own 1831 Gagliano violin. The difference is imperceptible, proving that it’s the violinist who makes the sound, not the violin.