NADJA SALERNO-SONNENBERG & ANNE-MARIE MCDERMOTT
A casual glance at what the majors have wrought in terms of releases for Salerno-Sonnenberg leading up to this NSS Music issue makes clear that there was no room for this kind of low key and intimate project. Nor is the program repertoire chosen here – Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 7, the Violin Sonata of Francis Poulenc and Franz Schubert's inexplicably obscure Rondeau Brillante – on the "A" lists of any of the major labels in the manner of works to record.
The results, however, is superb – far above the average for what might normally be viewed as a "boutique" release for even a major artist. Salerno-Sonnenberg and McDermott are an electrifying combination, crackling with energy and enthusiasm, never flagging in terms of interest or inspiration. The complex series of recaps in the rather quirky Schubert work always sound fresh when they come back around, as Salerno Sonnenberg and McDermott instinctively know how to vary them without departing too far from the music. Salerno Sonnenberg's tone is alternately warm and inviting and violently explosive - the whole disc keeps the listener on the edge of their seat, hanging on every note. Producer Karen Chester deserves praise for having such a good ear; it is customary in studio recordings to keep the soloist's playing somewhat above the accompaniment no matter what the musical cost.