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An artist with an ear for unexpected pairings

April 16, 2006|Richard S. Ginell

Michelle Makarski:

"To Be Sung on the Water"

Michelle Makarski, violin. Ronald Copes, viola. (ECM New Series)


MAKARSKI likes concept albums, and this latest seems really farfetched on paper, juxtaposing as it does three of Tartini's "piccole sonate" for solo violin with contemporary works written for Makarski by USC's Donald Crockett. But in what will not come as a surprise to aficionados, the sequence turns out to be uncanny. The last note of Tartini's Sonata IX is identical to the first one in Crockett's "to be sung on the water," as are Crockett's last note and the first note of the following Tartini Sonata II (in both cases, an A). Not only that, but Crockett's introspective, subdued, slow cruise for violin and viola shares a melancholy air with much of the adjoining Tartini. Crockett's "mickey finn" for solo violin is another story, with its animated angular leaps and frequent switches in mood.

Although Makarski uses a "modern" violin in the Tartinis, her swelling attacks and mostly absent vibrato combined with the reverberant acoustics make some of these recordings sound almost like period performances.

-- Richard S. Ginell

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