BIS Records recently released Frank Peter Zimmermann’s latest CD recording. Together with the Bamberger Symphoniker conducted by Jakub Hrůša he plays Stravinsky’s violin concerto, the first and second Rhapsodies by Bartók, as well as the rarely performed Suite concertante by Martinů. The Strad magazine hails it as “an outstanding album, successful in every regard.”
A great review – and Editor’s Choice March 2024 – in the Gramophone magazine for the debut CD of the Trio Zimbalist, released on the Curtis Institute label. The trio, with violinist Josef Špaček, cellist Timotheos Gavriilidis-Petrin and pianist George Xiaoyuan Fu play piano trios by Auerbach, Dvořák and Weinberg.
” …an astonishingly accomplished debut.”
Frank Peter Zimmermann waited until the fourth decade of his career to take on Bach’s six sonatas and partitas for solo violin. The first disc (BIS-2577) dedicated to this absolute pinnacle in the repertoire for the instrument was released in February 2022 to great critical acclaim. Now comes the much-awaited conclusion to this collection. Zimmermann compares these works to ‘a mighty tree, which protects me and crushes me at the same time’, the music giving him hope and strength at the same time as it confronts him with his limits as a violinist. On this new release, he now offers us the Sonata No. 1 in G minor, as well as the B minor Partita No. 1 and the Sonata No. 3 in C major.
“Frank Peter Zimmermann livre la suite de son intégrale des Sonates et partitas de Bach dans un second album aussi splendide que le premier (cf. no. 718). Un son clair, plein, chaleureux, racé, savoureux, porte un discours d’épopée qui exalte le chant, l’émotion poignante, autant que la rigueur stylistique: tout ici respire l’évidence et la ferveur. Par son artisanat à la fois humble et furieux, son engagement constant, voire sa rudesse de diction et d’articulation où la nuance n’est jamais anémiée, le violoniste exprime non l’orgueilleux narcissisme du virtuose mais son contraire: la communication, c’est-à-dire le sacré.” – Diapason no. 728 (Diapason d’Or)
On 8 September Supraphon released Josef Špaček’s new recording of works by Bohuslav Martinů. The recording includes three pieces for violin and piano, displaying various styles and influences the composer embraced. In the rarely performed Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra Josef Špaček and pianist Miroslav Sekera are accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Petr Popelka.
“On paper Špaček’s tried-and-tested partnership with Miroslav Sekera faces serious competition in the Sonata, although the Czech duo benefit from more modern sound than big-name rivals. A live account from David Oistrakh enjoys a high reputation among fiddle fanciers and executants alike while relegating Frida Bauer’s piano to the middle distance (Brilliant Classics, 6/07). Josef Suk and Josef Hála, arguably more idiomatic than the Soviet pair if less intense (Supraphon, 8/90), are outclassed now by Špaček and Sekera.” – Gramophone Awards Issue 2023
“Josef Špaček a eu le flair de s’adjoindre le splendide Miroslav Sekera (qui jouait le jeune Mozart au clavecin dans le film Amadeus !). Leur Sonate no. 3 est époustouflante. Les interprètes volent, au fil de tempos très rapides, d’une aile aussi flamboyante que cursive, alternant diaprures, chant déployé, émotion poétique et pudeurs ravéliennes (l’Adagio !). Leur ascension nuancée en vagues successives vers l’incandescence du finale relève du miracle.” – Diapason no. 728
“It’s a great advantage for string instrument players that Bohuslav Martinů was a violinist himself. Although being singular in terms of technique and applying his own deep-rooted practices, his pieces are ‘performer-friendly’. When it comes to the Concerto for Violin, Piano and Orchestra, the violin part is particularly challenging. Nevertheless, Martinů evidently knew precisely how far he could go, so as to keep it playable,” Josef Špaček said.