Fiddlers on the Roof: Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman

C. Michael Bailey By

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Violinist Lara St. John is not the only noted fiddler from the friendly climes of Canada. The past few years have seen the emergence of two exceptional violinists, Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman, who intersect one another in multiple places, including: Tafelmusik, the Eybler String Quartet and the Baroque chamber group, I Furiosi. Outside of Tafelmusik, Aisslinn Nosky serves as concertmaster for Boston's Handel and Haydn Society, while Julia Wedman has released a provocative performance of Biber's Mystery Sonatas (Sono Luminus, 2011).

The Eybler String Quartet (in which Aisslinn and Wegman join violist Patrick Jordan and cellist Margaret Gay) was envisioned as a period- instrument ensemble dedicated to music of lesser-known classical composers like their namesake, Joseph Leopold Eybler (1765—1846). The group has released three recordings on the Canadian Analekta label: Joseph Leopold Eybler—String Quartets, Op. 1, no. 1-3 (2006), Backofen & Mozart (2010) and the present Haydn offering.

At the same time as the Eybler's Haydn disc release, Nosky released her first solo violin recording, Bach Ysaye Oesterle, also considered here. Both are evidence of a bright future for old music. In the hands of these two new classicists, the future of Baroque and Classical performance is safe and thriving.

Aisslinn Nosky
Bach Ysaye Oesterle
Self Produced

On her debut solo violin recording, Aisslinn Nosky draws a thread through three recitals, beginning with and related to J.S. Bach's Partita for Solo Violin in E Major, BWV 1006 (Partita No. 3 of the composer's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin. After a pristine reading of Bach's partita, one that establishes Nosky's bona fides for solo violin performance, she then addresses contemporary German- Canadian composer Michael Oesterle's "Stand Still" for violin. while thoroughly contemporary, Oesterle, and by extension, Nosky find that contrapuntal sweet spot left by Bach on all of Western Music.

Nosky rounds out her recording with Belgian composer Eugene Ysaye's (1859-1931) "Violin Sonata No. 2" which quotes Bach's Prelude from the E Major Partita. Ysaye's piece is challenging in its complexity, in many ways more contemporary sounding than Oesterle's composition. All three compositions presented on the same recording offers a master's class in comparing three different music periods and compositions that are all interrelated. Nosky's tone is springtime warm and is captured at an optimal recording distance.

Eybler Quartet
Haydn, Op. 33
Analekta Records

Franz Josef "Papa" Haydn (1732—1809) composed 68 string quartets. While strictly not the "creator" of the form and format (that might be better credited to Gregorio Allegri (1582—1652) he did bring it fruition, one perfect later by Mozart and irradiated by Beethoven. Haydn's treatment of the string quartet is not unlike the codification accomplished by Bach in his keyboard study, The Well-Tempered Clavier. For their third release on Analekta, the Eybler Quartet address Haydn's six Opus 33 "Russian" quartets, published in 1781. Haydn had not composed in the idiom for 10 years before producing the "Russians" and age 49, produced some of his most robust writing.

The Eyblers approach these quartets from the Baroque side with brisk tempi and bright tonality. There is (gratefully) not one Romantic Note here. They readily capture Haydn's mostly sunny disposition through these six quartets, noting his famous sense of humor and irony. The sonics are well captured and engineered, providing a warmths that never becomes humid or fuzzy. there is much to appreciate that a well-known series for quartets were chosen for this recording, highlighting both Haydn's and the Eyblers' overall musical integrity and consistency.

Tracks and Personnel

Bach Ysaye Oesterle

Tracks: Bach: Partita for Solo Violin in E Major, BWV 1006: I. Preludio; Partita for Solo Violin in E Major, BWV 1006: II. Loure; Partita for Solo Violin in E Major, BWV 1006: III. Gavotte En Rondeaux; Partita for Solo Violin in E Major, BWV 1006: IV. Menuet 1&2; Partita for Solo Violin in E Major, BWV 1006: V. Bourée; Partita for Solo Violin in E Major, BWV 1006: VI. Gigue. Oesterle: Stand Still for Solo Violin: II.; Stand Still for Solo Violin: III; Stand Still for Solo Violin: IV; Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 27 No. 2: I. Ysaye: Obsession; Prelude; Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 27 No. 2: II. Malinconia; Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 27 No. 2: III. Danse Des Ombres-Sarabande; Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 27 No. 2: IV. Les Furies.

Personnel: Aisslinn Nosky: violin.

Haydn, Op. 33

Tracks: CD1: String Quartet No. 5 in G Major; String Quartet No. 1 in B Minor; String Quartet No. 6 in D Major. CD2: String Quartet No. 2 in E Flat Major; String Quartet No. 4 in B Flat Major; String Quartet No. 3 in C Major.

Personnel: Aisslinn Nosky: violin; Julia Wedman: violin; Patrick Jordan: viola; Margaret Gay: cello.


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