Contemplazione Alfredo Catalani
Charlie Siem fearlessly tackles some of the great 19th century violin works by the likes of Bazzini and Kreisler
Repertoire: Music by Wieniawski, Kreisler, Bazzini, Paganini, et al.
Artists: Charlie Siem (vln), Caroline Jaya–Ratnam (pf)
Label: Warner Classics 2564 67804-7
The Music: The 19th century was the golden age of the violin virtuoso; the likes of Paganini, Bazzini and Sarasate ruled with a series of self-penned showstoppers which form the core of this recital.
The Performances: Charlie Siem started playing aged three, and he makes some of the most ferocious pieces in the repertoire sound almost childishly simple. His facility in Wieniawski’s whistle-stop Caprice and Bazzini’s ricochet-laden La ronde des lutins is jaw-dropping, and even Franz Waxman’s notorious Carmen Fantasy would seems to hold no terrors for him. The only thing missing is a risk-taking, dangerous quality that would really have us on the edge of our seats.
The Verdict: Siem may not yet quite reach the giddy heights of Perlman and Heifetz, but there is no doubting his style and ease of technique.