María Dueñas : Beethoven and Beyond Review
Harmonic Journeys: María Dueñas’ Vibrant Interplay with the Masters in Beethoven and Beyond
María Dueñas’ debut album, Beethoven and Beyond, is an exhilarating musical exposition, illuminating the intricate weaving of virtuosity and expression that characterizes the young violinist’s style. The album’s tour de force lies in its exploration of cadenzas. This musical endeavor amplifies the dynamic interplay between the perennial works of legendary composers and Dueñas’s nuanced, innovative interpretations.
Kicking off the album with Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Dueñas unveils the musical palette she will paint from throughout the album. Her self-composed cadenza provide a thrilling departure from convention and exposes the listener to a medley of artistic interpretations. The diverse colors of violin techniques forge an enlightening prism through which the rich tapestry of Beethoven’s Concerto shines.
Kreisler’s Liebesleid, a staple of the violin repertoire, is given a fresh and compelling makeover in Dueñas’ expert hands. Far from over-sentimentalizing the piece, her interpretation exudes a refined melancholy, subtly enhanced by the fluid grace of her bowing technique and the expressivity of her vibrato.
Two lesser-known compositions included in the album, the Adagio from Spohr’s Concertante for Violin and Harp and Ysaÿe’s Berceuse, serve as hidden gems. The Spohr piece, reminiscent of a Beethoven Romance bathed in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rustic hues, comes alive under Dueñas’ intuitive touch. Ysaÿe’s Berceuse, meanwhile, is rendered with a poignant sensitivity that gives it an undeniable appeal akin to Fauré’s well-known Berceuse.
The Saint-Saëns’s Havanaise is performed with a uniquely Spanish flair, highlighting Dueñas’ cultural roots. The sensuality of her performance and the rhythmic finesse that she employs to accentuate the Cuban rhythms are genuinely captivating.
As a bonus, Beethoven and Beyond includes a disc featuring the first movement cadenzas of all five composers. This masterstroke not only rounds off the album but serves as a compelling musical journey in itself. Dueñas’ astute characterization of the contrasting moods brings coherence to the set, transforming it from an academic appendix into an integral part of the listening experience.
María Dueñas’ Beethoven and Beyond is a testament to her prodigious talent, combining the classic and contemporary in a daring and illuminating dialogue. It’s a fascinating exploration that moves beyond the boundaries of conventional classical repertoire, promising an exciting journey for both the seasoned classical aficionado and the curious newcomer.
Maria Duenas/Manfred Honeck/Wiener Symphoniker
Beethoven and Beyond
May 5, 2023
Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin