ANNE AKIKO MEYERS, VIOLIN AND LI JIAN, PIANO; Satoh, Debussy, Messiaen, Takemitsu, Ravel (Avie)*** 1/2
Anne Akiko Meyers is one of our most versatile violinists. She is a wonderfully talented artist with an immense recital repertoire. Her latest album on the small British independent label Avie gives a fabulous glimpse into that repertoire and shows off Meyers' incredible virtuosity and musicality.
This is an extraordinary album. It includes magnificent readings of the Debussy and Ravel violin sonatas, in which Meyers captures the austere yet richly hued fabric of the former and the robust energy of the latter.
One of the most stunning works on this CD is Somei Satoh's "Birds in warped time II." The composer gives a new twist to minimalism in this piece by skillfully interweaving exotic Eastern flavors in the violin part into the hypnotic swirl of the repetitive piano accompaniment.
Messiaen's "Theme et variation" and Toru Takemitsu's "Distance de fee" round out the album. Both are evocative in their pseudo-impressionist tonal landscapes. And Meyers captures the lyricism of the two pieces wonderfully with her rapturous playing.
Accompanying Meyers is pianist Li Jian, who is her perfect partner in these works. His playing equals Meyers' in its luminosity and vibrancy.