msv 28521 (2 CD)
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An immense and magnificent set of variations by American composer George Rochberg, not just, as the title may suggest, on Paganini's famous 24th Caprice, but incorporating styles and forms "borrowed" from many other ocmposers, such as Mahler, Brahms, Busoni, Schubert and Beethoven! The work is played on the renowned "Habeneck" Stradivarius violin of 1734. Violinist Peter Sheppard Skærved is a virtuoso of the first order and a regular Metier recording artist. Aaron Shorr joins in for the world premiere recording of Rochberg's Violin Sonata in a stunning live performance.

CD DURATION:  CD1 - 63:17 CD2 - 52:52

AUDIO SAMPLE: Caprice Variation 1 allegro energico  







Violin Sonata (live concert: premiere recording)
Caprice Variations 1-51

review extracts: for full reviews click here (also includes reviews of msvcd92065, Caprice Variations only)
“Metier continues its faithful dedication to contemporary music by adding this remarkable release to its already abundant collection. An outstanding recording that provides wonderful listening experiences.” – Danny Kim-Nam Hiu (ConcertoNet)

“[Rochberg's] sonata of 1988… conveying intense feeling. The Variations… intricate solo violin work.. always with purpose and impact.” – Phillip Sommerich (Classical Music) EDITOR'S CHOICE CD July 2011

“the performance is so compelling that interest never wavers; the recording is fine; and it doesn't matter where the music came from since this magnificent instrument enjoys every note. “ - Peter Dickinson (Gramophone)

“Rochberg is never one to be penned down, as these current offerings demonstrate. [The Variations] is a remarkable series of 50 variations and an overture, quite long but endlessly fascinating. I find[the Sonata] engrossing and highly expressive, a would-be repertory piece if only more violinists had the courage. The sound on these two discs is very fine… the playing by Rochberg friend Peter Sheppard Skaerved must be considered definitive… warmly recommended.” – Steven Ritter (Audiophile Audition)

“Rochberg's boundless imagination and application of sometimes outrageous technique might well have surprised even Paganini himself… the violinistic terrors that lurk within both the Sonata and the very capricious Variations are, with few exceptions, water off a duck's back to Skaerved, who gives a very expressive, technically assured performance of enormous strength. Sound quality is high … the CD booklet is glossy and highly informative … in the final reckoning this is a quality release, and Metier must be forgiven for re-issuing the Caprice Variations. In fact they should keep on doing it every few years until the world starts taking more notice of George Rochberg's unique contribution to music history.” – Byzantion (Music Web)
“What a recording!… violinist Skaerved, playing on Francois-Antoine Habeneck's 1734 Strad, handles the work's many terrors with appropriate style and gusto. These are 51 dazzling variations on Paganini's wellworn tune. It's a thrill a minute, and it's outrageous enough to impress Paganini himself” – Allen Gimbel (American Record Guide)
“the journey is an impressive one… I have no hesitation in recommending it” - Peter Grahame Woolf (Musical Pointers)
“This quirky, witty, beautiful and often bewildering 90-minute work's sense of shape and purpose feels brilliantly complete.” – Catherine Nelson (The Strad)
“ I have to say that Skærved sounds amazing. He’s playing the 1734 Habeneck Strad. Kudos to Metier’s David Lefeber for capturing the instrument and Skærved’s passionate playing. These variations-on-variations have grown on me and it’s a treat to hear a Strad sound so good.” – Grant Chu Covell (La Folia)
“I find this performance to be exceedingly sensitive and technically at a very high level. The Skaerved recording is in better sound [than the Zeitlin version]” – Scott Morrison (