Zest for Life and Music Abound in 'French Touch'
French Touch. Poulenc: Sonata for violin and piano; Ravel: Sonata for violin and piano, Tzigane; Saint Saens: Dance Macabre; Massenet: Méditation (from 'Thais'). Max Zorin, violin; Vincent Balse, piano (Max Zorin and Vincent Balse)
The image of the young, handsome men on the cover of this CD suggests youth, vitality, and zest for life, all of which are conveyed with the highest level of musicality in this wonderful recording. French-Israeli violinist Max Zorin is a name you should get to know; he's simply a magnificent player. He's been teaching at Penn State since 2005, and discovered a love for theater while at Yale getting his graduate degree. That dramatic flair has been put to great use on these exuberant works by innovative French composers in the prime of their lives.
Maurice Ravel's Gypsy-influenced Tzigane is an intense and fiery piece that Zorin plays particularly well. With equal parts passion and drama, Zorin captures the work's wildness and exoticism. Meanwhile, the sonata for violin and piano, with its Gershwin-tinged bluesiness, is a nod to Ravel's admiration of the American jazz idiom. Zorin, who also plays jazz and contemporary music, seems right at home.
Talented pianist Vincent Balse accompanies Zorin, and the two are perfectly matched in their high-spirited renditions of each work.