Itzhak Perlman Bits and PiecesItzhak Perlman
Bits and Pieces

with Samuel Sanders, piano

EMI, 1994

 

 

In our days, it is usual to attend a concert where the solo instrument performs a single work with some short compositions as encores, while the rest of the evening is reserved to an overture and a symphony played by the orchestra, but this does not happened in the past. Once, concert programmes were conceived to show the virtuoso skills as widely as possible and a standard performance included a sonata followed by several short works. It is to these short works that this amusing recording by violinist Itzhak Perlman refers to in its title.

Bits and Pieces collects many short works by composers of different areas and times, beginning with the most famous composition by Arcangelo Corelli, La Folia, and ending with Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble-Bee, to amuse and to impress the listener with a vivacious and light programme.

What is astonishing is that Perlman plays these simple pieces in a way that cannot but charm you. His intensity and wit and the immediacy of the short works make them stand out in a way that touches the heart, both in such delicate pieces as Mendelssohn’s Sweet Remembrance and in brilliant works as Gioseffo Fectore Fiocco’s Allegro.

The beauty and originality of Bites and Pieces is evinced by a mixture of rhythms and sounds, vivacious for the most part, with the best examples in pieces as Suk’s Burleska, The Flight of the Bumble-Bee, but most of all Fauré’s Berceuse, where Perlman enjoys himself with many funny sounds. The same spirit, only expressed in a different way, is present in dreamy and sweet compositions as Salut d’amour, as it is necessary for a work composed by Elgar to remember his first meeting with his future wife, and later arranged for every combination of instruments. There is also some melancholy in Suk’s Un poco triste, played exactly with the “little of sadness” suggested by the title, for the irresistible irony of Alexander de Taeye’s Humoresque and for the elegy of Rachmaninov’s Prelude. A peculiar piece is Granados’s Spanish Dance, with its typical Spanish colour.

I do not suggest you to listen to Bites and Pieces only in an hour of recreation because it deserves the same attention of an “engaged” work for its depth. If you give it that attention, you will not simply love it – but you will adore it.

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