Centaur Records has released on March 10, 2015 Argentine violinist,Tomas Cotik's solo violin debut album with a world premiere recording of pieces by Franz Schubert. The CD also includes Bach’s monumental C major sonata recorded with the unusual combination ‘modern violin & baroque bow’ and Piazzolla’s challenging and intriguing Tango Etudes from Cotik’s home country, Argentina.
The album includes three Fantasias by Telemann (B-flat major, B minor and D major), Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 3 in C major (BWV 1005), Schubert’s Ländler D.370, D.374, D.355 and D.640, and Piazzolla’s 6 Tango Études.
One of the most prolific composers of his generation whose music links the late Baroque and Classical styles, Telemann left behind 1,046 church cantatas, more than forty Passion settings, dozens of operas, and countless works for chamber ensembles, orchestra and unaccompanied instruments. To this last group belong the twelve Fantasias for solo flute, the thirty-six Fantasias for solo harpsichord, twelve Fantasias for solo viola da gamba (now lost), and the twelve Fantasias for solo violin without bass.
Telemann was, for the most part, self-taught in music and played the violin among many other instruments. He composed these Fantasias for violin, originally titled XII Fantasias per il Violino senza Basso, in 1735 for Panton Hebestreit, the Director of Music at Eisenach. Like other Fantasias, these works are rooted in the art of improvisation and do not adhere strictly to the “rules” of other musical forms. They consist of themes with three or four parts united to form a whole. Fast and exciting movements alternate with slow parts that encompass a subtly improvisatory spirit.
Telemann described the collection as “12 Fantasias of which 6 include fugues and 6 are Galanterien.” Alternation between the bass and a melody line through string crossing creates the impression of different voices. These compositions, possibly written for amateurs and students at that time, are still underappreciated today.
After much deliberation, I chose to record the album’s gallant and baroque pieces by Telemann and Bach with a baroque bow. Before doing this recording, I had experimented for several years switching back and forth between a baroque bow and my more modern Sartory bow (ca. 1893/94) when playing baroque repertoire. Finally, on the recording date, only after listening to the sound samples, I decided which bow to use for this album. I enjoyed the expressive potential of the baroque bow, the transparent textures, and the effortlessness with which it went “around the curves,” changing strings and direction with ease. The ability to differentiate subtle nuances at the beginning and end of each stroke and the subsequent numerous possibilities of connection between those notes appealed to me as well. The baroque bow naturally helped me interpret the music and avoid wrong accents in this repertoire. Furthermore, it allowed for a lighter sound, quicker, more flowing tempi, and lively articulations.
“exceptional...Piazzolla can be played differently than this, but provably not better.”
“a treat from start to finish”
“None of these pieces has ever sounded quite like this before.”
“una nueva forma de mirar, entender y percibir la música de diferentes épocas”
“laudable level of technical accuracy…tenderness and warmth”
“The BBC Music team’s current favourites”
“violinist Tomas Cotik is always up for a new challenge”
“a musician who prepares thoroughly and has great respect for the music he performs”
“among the very best Piazzolla albums”
“My first chamber choice for the year. ”
“excellent style, which is not frequently found”
“I find the Cotik and Lin performances most interesting and the sound on their disc is excellent”
“I’ve had a listen to a few alternatives…including Isaac Stern with Daniel Baremboim and Lydia Mordkovitch, but this duo pretty much ticks all the boxes”
“A neglected stash of unrecorded Schubert”
“This is an excellent recital. I enjoy the Piazzolla Tango Etudes more as played by Cotik than by anyone else. ”
“excellent violin playing...extremely enjoyable interpretations of music that I love”
“If you love the solo violin, you won't find a better recording to suit your tastes”
“Some of the music is sultry while other works are fast, rhythmic, and ornamented to show the exquisite virtuosity of Cotik”
“an exemplary presentation of some marvelous music”
“unusual depth and broad compass...absolutely brilliant... unmistakable vitality...optimally recorded”
“clarity and tonal opulence rare in recordings of violin music”
“Cotik makes Kreisler seem almost smarmy, Isabelle Faust almost mannered, and Julia Fischer as though she's filed down the detail”
“The Piazzolla album is not just Cotik as brilliant interpreter, but also as creative mind.”
“Overall, these two discs featuring Cotik must be regarded as among the finest performances for their consistent artistry and idiomatic grasp”
“un disco la cui qualità riesce a proporre la freschezza affascinante della cultura musicale germanica come nuova, come se non si fossero mai ascoltate prima”
“I marvel at the technical skill which effortlessly encompasses these deeply contrasting styles....a technical as well as expressive master stroke”
“Cotik transcends even the profoundly meditative”
“Hace muy poco descubrí esta maravilla...dos extraordinarios instrumentalistas que uniendo su talento logran...algo genial.”
“should leave listeners almost breathless…a vibrancy and attention to detail...strong individuality and… vitality”
“Cotik and Tao Lin have…honored not only their professions as musicians, but the memory and work of Franz Schubert”
“un violinista excelente... que recoge una forma rigurosa, natural y fuera de lo común de entender e interpretar la música”
“brilliant Argentinean violinist”
“The technical qualities of the recording - which is on the NAXOS label, by the way - are excellent.”
“this is one of the great Piazzolla discs, and in perfect sound quality, I urge you to buy it.”
“Las versiones son óptimas por la compenetración estilística del dúo y la prestancia instrumental del admirable violinista”
“Un disco revelador de la maestría de los jóvenes intérpretes que lo firman: Tomas Cotik y Tao Lin.”
“there is no question that this disc is, by some distance, Naxos's best Piazzolla recording ”
“outstanding from the very beginning”
“Everyone who plays these works should hear these exemplary performances...you will never hear these Telemann Fantasias played so well ”
“this superbly produced Schubert disc…comes warmly commended”
“un trabajo de mucha calidad, por la originalidad de los arreglos y especialmente porque se trata de un excelente instrumentista”
“None of these pieces has ever sounded quite like this before....Cotik handles it beautifully, with tremendous clarity of line and evenness of tone”
“intelligent and sensitive...glories in...colorations and shared emphasis”
“Cotik vanta un violinismo costantemente brillante e un colore di suono caldo e avvolgente”
“this is clearly a team to watch. I am sure we will be hearing good things from them in the future”
“their lofty musicianship dwarfs their profound scholarship”
“true treasure...one of the latest gems to emerge from the season”
“absolutely impeccable, with intonation in the centre of every note, and his left hand flying around the fingerboard with remarkable agility”
“bemerkenswert, kunstvolle und expressive Interpretationen...auf hohem Niveau und den jeweiligen Stilen perfekt angepasst”
“I was immediately impressed by their virtuosity and also their understanding of Piazzolla’s music. I was anxious to see them perform in person”
“conviction, commitment, diplomacy, and character”
“I highly commend Mr. Cotik for his innovative interpretations and I hope many future audiences will experience his musical excellence”
“an excellent violinist”
“recreating the visceral charge of Piazzolla’s legendary quintet concerts and recordings”
“Evocative concert of Jewish classical music”
“wonderful album…impressive for the elegance and sensitivity of the interpretations”
“Cotik phrases this music with such feeling, making you wonder if it could possibly sound better in any other performance.”
Può essere difficile reggere un programma virtuosistico nella completa solitudine di uno strumento, specie se non si tratta del pianoforte, ma del violino, neppure accompagnato dal basso continuo. Ma per Tomas Cotik il rischio doveva far parte del programma di questo cd, che suona come una sfida sin dal titolo: Solo....Cotik è abilissimo ad affascinare l’ascoltatore non con la melodia né con la costruzione virtuosistica (che non rientravano certo negli intenti del compositore), bensì con la purezza del suono. ... il Bach della sonata che segue sceglie la dolcezza soffusa e il portamento; la differenza è macroscopica quando dal finale della terza fantasia del primo attacca l’Adagio della sonata del secondo. Non basta dire che sia un’ovvietà, poiché l’impronta bachiana ha contorni così profondi e inconfondibili da differenziarsi subito rispetto al resto; è infatti lo stesso Cotik che, da autentico virtuoso, rimarca le differenze nella natura del suono... Tutto è comunque molto godibile, calibrato, davvero “musicale” come una voce che non ci si stanca di ascoltare. Dalla nettezza geometrica di Telemann alle sinuosità geroglifiche di Piazzolla la distanza è davvero immensa, ma con la naturalezza dell’esecutore è come se il percorso si fosse compiuto da solo …
... un violinista que coneix i treballa a bastament la música que passa per les seves mans abans d’interpretar-la. A l’hora d’afrontar les Fantasies de Telemann i la Tercera Sonata de Bach utilitza un arquet barroc sobre violí modern per apropar-se d’aquesta manera als timbres de l’època, amb un aprofundiment i una bellesa lírica portadors de gran refinament. Si en aquesta música se’ns mostra un intèrpret que cerca la profunditat, en els Ländler de Schubert expressa tot el que significa espontaneïtat. Així, si anys enrere va fer l’enregistrament de la integral de l’obra per a violí i piano de Schubert, ara afronta quatre Ländler que ell mateix va descobrir i que interpreta amb gràcia i subtilesa, tot exposant el ritme ternari d’aquestes danses tradicionals austríaques. Com a cloenda de l’enregistrament, arribem als Tango-Étude de Piazzolla; originàriament escrits per a flauta, Cotik hi ofereix una barreja de lirisme seductor i un virtuosisme sempre controlat. Un violinista amb una sòlida formació acadèmica emergeix en les seves interpretacions personals.
In this program Cotik performs music by composers who were born as early as 1681 and who died as recently as 1992. In all of these works, Cotik performs brilliantly. In fact, his tone and articulation, especially notable in the Telemann, is astonishing. His playing there, and in the Bach, is facilitated by his use of a baroque bow, as he himself says in his notes accompanying this disc...
What I have just quoted provides an explanation of the timing of the fugue in the Bach Sonata, which Cotik performs in eight minutes and 41 seconds, remarkably faster than several other recorded performances ...,but this difference was so striking I simply had to. In spite of his fleetness, Cotik’s performance is always clean, fast but not rushed.
The Ländler, in ¾ time, an Austrian and south German predecessor of the walt,... Cotik’s phrasing and sonority are clear and generally excellent, even when there are double stops. It may be mentioned here that Cotik wrote his doctoral dissertation on music by Schubert.
The recording quality greatly adds to the appeal of this CD. The sound is resonant without being reverberant, the level is optimal and miking is at the right distance to obviate both harshness and thinness of tone.
Very highly recommended.
Argentinean violinist Tomas Cotik gives us here a recital for solo violin. His strong suit is how he plays the fast movements of the Telemann Fantasias. II in the first Fantasia is a wild joy ride that is unforgettable. Everyone who plays these works should hear these exemplary performances. I can’t help imagining Telemann himself smiling with delight. His Bach is very good, with clear-voice leading in the implied counterpoint, and his reading holds up against some extremely stiff competition. He brings the same refreshingly high energy to the fugue and finale as he does to the Telemann fast movements, and the slow movements are deeply felt. I enjoy the Piazzolla Tango Etudes more as played by Cotik than by anyone else. This is an excellent recital, and you will never hear these Telemann Fantasias played so well.
Tomas Cotik, por fin Solo
El violinista argentino regresa a la actualidad discográfica con su primer trabajo en solitario en el que acerca al público su forma de entender la música, a través de una interpretación inusual y brillante y un repertorio muy cuidado que incluye obras poco conocidas....Lo único que faltaba en su currículum era Solo, su proyecto en solitario editado por el sello discográfico Centaur. Desde los primeros minutos se puede apreciar el toque sofisticado de Cotik y su inmensa capacidad para moverse entre estilos.....matices sutiles y un sonido ligero y fluido...una interpretación más natural... virtuosismo y delicadeza ....una ejecución magistral y una pasión desbordante...Sin duda Solo se trata de un disco redondo, con el sello personal de un violinista excelente que ha tardado en presentarse en solitario, y que recoge una forma rigurosa, natural y fuera de lo común de entender, acercarse e interpretar la música. La espera ha merecido la pena.
The solo violin is a beautiful sound...These solos are rich in rhythm and have good variation in tone.... The artist's technique is solid and sound.
If you love the solo violin, you won't find a better recording to suit your tastes. If you seek music encouraging to thought and self-examination, this disc will serve you well...
Robert W. Plyer
La aparición del disco “Solo” de Tomas Cotik, publicado por el sello discográfico Centaur, es una apuesta muy interesante porque muestra una nueva forma de mirar, entender y percibir la música de diferentes épocas. Resulta muy gratificante escuchar estas interpretaciones para violín solo, en las que Cotik comunica su enorme capacidad en interpretar fluidamente la música de Telemann, Schubert o Piazzolla. Une en su magnífico discurso de diferentes estilos, las formas clásicas como la fantasía y la sonata del diecisiete y el tango, una danza de ritmo muy sincopado del siglo veinte: en todas estas obras aparece la pasión.
Cotik despliega sus habilidades técnicas en estos sutiles estados emocionales. Al final aparece el arrebato de los sentimientos y de las melodías.
Violinist Tomás Cotik explains in the notes to Centaur's collection that he plays Georg Philipp Telemann's and Johann Sebastian Bach's works with a Baroque bow that offers him effortless transparency. He sounds exceptionally agile in the bariolages featured in the very brief Allegro and exceptionally expressive in the Grave before turning in the finale to a reprise of the second movement.
Bach's Solo Sonata in C Major, the third and most complex of the three sonatas in Bach's set allows Cotik to make his violin reverberate in the many double-stops incorporating open strings. But the movement's effect hardly depends on sonority alone, and Cotik transcend even the profoundly meditative quality he divined in Telemann's slow movements. At a tempo that sounds brisk (the movement takes 8:41--Jascha Heifetz took 8:40 in 1952 but 9:04 in 1935; Nathan Milstein, on the other hand, got slower, at 9:20 in 1954 and 9:45 in 1973),..he fashions from the fugue, as he did from the Adagio, a compelling musical narrative that, despite its tempo, hardly sounds lightweight or breezy--or technically awkward. The Largo leads to a reading of the finale that's so brisk....the speed in this case just adds to the exhilarating effect of a concerto-like movement for one instrument that throws off sparks as might a grind wheel....
Franz Schubert's collections of Ländler, which Cotik claims to have encountered while engaging in dissertation research on the composer, contribute something new to the program. It may sound surprising to listeners that they stand so solidly on their own, but Cotik claims that Schubert may have intended them to be heard just this way rather than simply as sketches. (Dancers in the British Isles often employed only a single fiddler during this period--Charles Dickens refers to the practice in A Christmas Carol.) If they're to be played unaccompanied, however, the violinist must at least swaddle them in a blanket of idiomatic nuance, as Cotik does, making them sound both ingratiating and substantial. The solo violin sounds very different in the edgy accents of Astor Piazzolla's Tango Études, and Cotik delivers the music of this now obligatory composer (apparently now it's Bach, Beethoven, and Piazzolla) with cheeky verve, virtuosic aplomb, and idiomatic authenticity (Cotik grew up in Argentina).
Cotik's solo recital should go down without a spoonful of sugar; in fact, those reaching the end may need to be reminded that they've been listening for more than an hour to violin unaccompanied. That's a significant accomplishment in itself. Strongly recommended.
Der argentinische Geiger Tomas Cotik hat bei Centaur ein bemerkenswertes Soloalbum herausgebracht. Ein Highlight der CD sind die selten zu hörenden Schubert-Ländler D.370, D.374, D.355 und D.640, deren genuinen, volkstümlichen Charme der Geiger wunderbar zum Ausdruck bringt. Auf der CD gibt es auch kunstvolle und expressive Interpretationen von Johann Sebastian Bachs C-Dur Sonate, von zwei Telemann-Fantasien und von sechs farbigen Tango-Etüden Astor Piazzollas. Ein gemischtes Programm also, auf hohem Niveau und den jeweiligen Stilen perfekt angepasst (CRC 3364).
... Mr. Cotik very much takes this to heart in his playing, performing the contrapuntal movements with absolute concentration on the polyphony, and contrasting this with the sense of abandon he gives to the fantasia movements. I marvel at the technical skill which effortlessly encompasses these deeply contrasting styles....a technical as well as expressive master stroke.
Tomas’ interpretation of these naked works is wistful yet swinging, danceable yet thoughtful. He brings much of the ‘apotheosis of the dance’ quality to them that he brought to the Allegro Assai movement of the Bach...On to Piazzolla.... Cotik brings a technique to these pieces that is similar, yet distinctly different from those earlier essays. ...What is most touching about Cotik’s playing here is the occasional subtle stuttering of the bow—not a spiccato, sautille, or jete–at the end of a phrase, as if the emotion momentarily (and deliberately) overwhelms the technique....Good to see Cotik conclude his survey with these works, as they show how dance–and dance polyphony–have evolved through Telemann, Bach, Schubert, and Piazzolla. The homophony of dance, and the polyphony of the fugue and related contrapuntal forms have mixed well in the works of composers great and small, and works like the Piazzolla ensure that such composition will carry on into the future.
WHEN THE VIOLIN SOARS - 4 STARTS - ++++
None of these pieces has ever sounded quite like this before.Cotik handles it beautifully, with tremendous clarity of line and evenness of tone. His playing is equally fine in the other three movements: the opening movement’s surprising dissonances make perfect sense here, the third movement’s pastoral simplicity shines forth after the fugue’s tremendous complexity, and the virtuoso finale whirls to a wonderful conclusion. are straightforward and pleasant - trifles, yes, but delicious ones. Cotik respects the music shows, as Piazzolla intended to show, that the tango is just as valid a canvas for technical study and attractive music-making as are other dances.... multiple fascinations brought forth by Cotik’s interpretations and technical skill.
A neglected stash of unrecorded Schubert
The Argentine violinist Tomas Cotik makes a claim on his new recording that much of Schubert’s dance music exists only in autograph at the city library of Vienna, unpublished and unrecorded.